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Puckarinen Hits A Post

Teemu and Saku

They’re actually almost the same age. Sure, Teemu’s four years older, but what’s four years when you’re 41 and 37? And yet, somehow Saku still seems like the kid, next to a veteran, even though they’re both veterans.

Last night the two veterans, two Finns united in Anaheim, both had their own historic night when Selänne - surely you knew Teemu was Selänne, and Saku was Koivu - scored his 22nd goal of the season, and 1399th point of his career, and grabbed the 19th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list all to himself, leaving his idol and friend Jari Kurri behind him.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would pass my biggest idol in goals and points,” Selänne writes in a blog he keeps on Finnish MTV3.fi.

“In ninth grade, our teacher told us that every pupil had to make a presentation on something, and that was an assignment I liked so I gave a presentation on Jari Kurri. I had his pictures on the walls on my room, and I knew everything about him. I’m not much of a reader but I had just finished a book about him so I aced the presentation, and I think it might have been the only A I got in school,” he adds.

With 1399 points, Selänne left some history to be made this season, as he’ll surely pass the 1400-point mark shortly.

And that he would become the highest-scoring Finn in the history of the league in Saku Koivu’s 1000th regular season game is fitting, as the two have been a part of some of the greatest moments in Finnish hockey history ever since Selänne was a teen phenomenon in Finland in the late 1980s, and Koivu the new hope of Finnish hockey in the early 1990s.

Whenever Selänne and Koivu have played together in the national team, the team’s become a Finnish dream team.

Like in 2008, at the Worlds in Quebec City and Halifax.

“Obviously [it’s great] for a centre, when you get a player like Teemu, with his speed and skill level, you don’t have too many players like that,” Koivu said upon arriving in Halifax mid-tournament.

“We’ve had a lot of success in international hockey together. I know him, he knows me,” said Selanne.

And he was right. Koivu was a leader on Finland’s historic 1995 World Championship team, Selänne broke records in the NHL, and together they’ve won 1998 Olympic bronze, 1999 World Championship silver, 2004 World Cup silver, 2006 Olympic silver, 2008 World Championship bronze, and 2010 Olympic bronze.

And still they ride.

In his blog, Selanne said that he calls the 1000 NHL-game group a “Sir club”, a group of distinguished players.

“So now we can call Saku Sir Koivu,” he said of Koivu, who, by the way, is third on the all-time scoring list for Finnish players with 770 points.

Now, in formal protocol “Sir” should be used with the knight’s given name or full name, but not with the surname alone. So, technically, Teemu’s a little off with his salutation. It should be “Sir Saku”.

And that’s just fine. Sir Saku, Sir Teemu, distinguished gentlemen, Finland’s own hockey legends, they’re on a first-name basis with the world.

Risto Pakarinen is a Finnish freelance writer. You can call him Risto, but on Twitter, he’s @Puckarinen.

Filed in: | Puckarinen Hits A Post | Permalink
  Tags: jari+kurri, saku+koivu, teemu+selanne

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About Puckarinen Hits A Post

Risto Pakarinen is a Finnish freelance writer, based in Stockholm, Sweden.

That's right, he's deep behind the enemy lines. He's also a regular contributor to IIHF.com, NHL.com, The Hockey News, and several publications in Finland and Sweden. He's also covered four World Championships and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for the IIHF.

And since he foolishly hoisted the Stanley Cup in his twenties, he wakes up every morning knowing he will never be able to win it.