Pre-game quotes from Teemu Selanne following the Ducks morning skate in Anaheim, prior to their game vs. the visiting Chicago Blackhawks…
Was going to the Olympics something you always wanted to do?
“Obviously it was a big thing. When I was a young boy and watching the Olympics it was something special and a dream for me to be a part of it one day. I never thought I would have a chance to go to six Olympics. Especially when I was younger it was a really big thing. In 1988 when Finland won silver in Calgary, that was a big thing. But it was different back then because there weren’t any NHL players. The Olympics is a feeling that you just can’t describe.”
Who were your Olympic heroes in hockey and other sports?
“Mine was Matti Nykanen, the legendary ski jumper and Juha Mieto a cross country skier. I always looked up to the Russian National Hockey team. They were machines. They were impossible to beat. Then in 1980 when it happened. It was a miracle. That was no joke. It was a miracle.”
Did you ever meet any of the legendary Russian hockey players?
“I played against Krutov, Makarov, Larionov when I played on the national team. It was a pretty weird feeling because you use to watch them and now to play against them was pretty special.”
Has the decision to allow NHL players in the Olympics been a good one?
“I think it was been good for both the NHL and the Olympics. I believe for a lot of people the men’s hockey is the main event that people want to watch. You have the best players there and the competition is unbelievable.”
There has been some talk that this could be the last time NHLers participate in the Olympics. What are your feelings about that possibility?
“The Olympics will still go on but again, if the best athletes are not there then something will be missing by not having the NHL players. It’s fine if the amateurs go but every time when you have the best athletes competing against each other that’s when you get the true representation of who is really the best. If you look at the Summer Olympics and men’s basketball. If the NBA players are not there it’s still a nice tournament but there is a lot missing.”
Many joke about the fact that Finland’s best players are usually goalies, how come you never played goalie?
“That’s a good question. That’s a tough question (laughs). There is no answer for that. The program for the goalies back home is really good. Kind of a shame that they (goalies) are the best players (laughs). We are very proud of our goalies. We still bring a lot of players to the NHL.”
What are your thoughts about instead of shutting down the league for 2 weeks, the idea of moving Olympic hockey to the Summer Olympics?
“I don’t think so. I think this is a natural way. It is what it is. I think the advantages outweigh any disadvantages.”
BONUS: Bruce Boudreau on Selanne playing in his 6th Olympics:
“I played in only seven games for the Chicago Blackhawks (1985-86) and this guy is in his 6th Olympics. It’s a phenomenal feat for him, well deserved. The superlatives are too many to answer. I can’t even fathom it. I would have given my right arm to be in one.”