Selanne ties Olympic points record

 

Olympic Hockey Notebook

 
 
 
 
Teemu Selanne of Finland moves the puck against Belarus during the ice hockey men's preliminary game on day 6 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, Canada.
 

Teemu Selanne of Finland moves the puck against Belarus during the ice hockey men's preliminary game on day 6 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, Canada.

Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

VANCOUVER -- Former Winnipeg Jets superstar Teemu Selanne tied an Olympic record for career points in Finland’s 5-1 victory over Belarus.

Selanne, playing with a full face shield to protect a jaw he broke while playing in the NHL last month, drew an assist on Olli Jokinen’s opening goal to record his 36th Olympic point.

The Anaheim Ducks winger has 20 goals and 16 assists in five Olympic Games. According to the IIHF record book, Selanne is tied in points with Vlastimil Bubnik of the former Czechoslovakia, Russia's Valeri Kharlamov and Canada’s Harry Watson.

“It’s a big honour, but I’ve been around a long time and always play with great players,” Selanne said.

Selanne needs five goals in this tournament to tie the Olympic record for most career goals in the modern era, which begins with the 1956 Olympics. Sweden's Sven ‘Tumba’ Johansson holds the record with 25.

Though he lost 12 pounds after breaking his jaw, Selanne said his strength and energy have returned. He calls Turin his favorite Olympics, because his Finnish team played so well, losing by a goal to Sweden in the gold medal game.

“We lost only one game, and that was the last one,” Selanne said. “Our team was outstanding. We just ran out of gas a bit.”

These will surely be the last Games for Finnish Flash, who turns 40 this summer, and Selanne likes the idea of completing his Olympic run in hockey-mad Canada.

“This is going to be the greatest experience, with Canadian fans, and Vancouver is the best city in the world,” Selanne said. “It’s a dream come true for hockey fans.”

As to Finland’s chances of getting back into a gold medal game, Selanne said: “we’re all from the same league and drink the same beer, so you never know.”

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Defenceman Dan Boyle logged more minutes than any other Canadian in the Norway game, but the fact it was barely above 20 minutes, is a good indication of how head coach Mike Babcock rolled the lines and most of the defence pairings.

Boyle played 20 minutes, 12 seconds, and actually had four fewer shifts than Shea Weber, a reflection of the power play time logged by Boyle.

Patrick Marleau led the forwards with 16:51 of ice time.

TOI is a great indication of a player’s status with his coaches in a given game, which is why defenceman Brent Seabrook has cause to be alarmed. Much was made of the importance of the Chicago Blackhawks pairing of Seabrook and Duncan Keith, but Seabrook played just 8:46 against Norway, by far the lowest of Canada’s seven defencemen. Keith played nearly twice as much, 16:25.

When the team was announced, a lot of Canadian hockey fans assumed Drew Doughty was going to be the 7th D, simply because he is only 20 and in his second NHL season with the Los Angeles Kings. A lot of eastern hockey fans have not seen enough of him to appreciate him. Canadian selectors, however, loved Doughty’s game at the 2009 world hockey championships in Switzerland, and Doughty played a solid 15:21 in the Olympic opener. Doughty threw some big hits and showed his usual poise.

Things can change game by game, but Seabrook sure looks like Canada’s seventh defenceman at the moment, heading into Game 2 of the preliminary round against the Swiss.

Martin Brodeur starts in goal against Switzerland and Roberto Luongo dresses as the backup.

Head coach Mike Babcock says the team will pump Jonas Hiller’s Anaheim teammates (Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry) and rivals for a “scouting report” on the Swiss goalie.

The Canadian staff watched the USA beat Switzerland 3-1 and came away impressed by the team game of the Swiss.

“Nine of the Swiss chances came off the one line (Ivo Ruthemann, Martin Pluss, Thierry Paterlini), they dumped pucks 33 times and they finished checks all night,” said Babcock.

At practice on Wednesday, Canada’s line combinations remained the same as they finished on Tuesday against Norway, meaning Jarome Iginla, Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash are still together. To the surprise of no one after Iginla’s hat trick, and a combined eight points for the line.

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Several Canadian players admitted they would like to atone for the embarrassing 2-0 defeat laid on by Switzerland four years ago in Turin, when Martin Gerber stoned Canada.

“Yeah, no question, we don’t forget things like that,” said winger Dany Heatley. “We hope to beat them pretty good (Thursday).”

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Jacques Lemaire was a brilliant player for the Montreal Canadiens and is one of the most respected coaches in the game. So, it’s surprising that a) he hasn’t coached in an Olympics before and b) that he would get his chance so late in his career.

It was Steve Yzerman who recommended the assistants to Babcock and the head coach concurred, as Lemaire, Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock rounded out the staff.

Asked specifically about Lemaire, Babcock said he loves to talk hockey with him, and that Canada is better off with his guile on the bench.

“In pressure situations, knowledge, experience and preparation defeat fear,” Babcock said, “and Jacques has all those things.”

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Finland’s Jarkko Ruutu, a forward for the Ottawa Senators, did a fair imitation of Heatley, deflecting a point shot for the Finns fifth goal of the afternoon against Belarus.

 
 
 
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Teemu Selanne of Finland moves the puck against Belarus during the ice hockey men's preliminary game on day 6 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, Canada.
 

Teemu Selanne of Finland moves the puck against Belarus during the ice hockey men's preliminary game on day 6 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, Canada.

Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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