ANAHEIM, Calif. – Following the bronze medal Olympic hockey game between the United States and Finland, Teemu Selanne sought out his Anaheim Ducks teammate Cam Fowler. The two shared a moment befitting of Selanne’s final Olympics, as the elder statesmen in both the Games and the Ducks’ locker room told one of hockey’s top young defensemen how proud he was of his play.
"It was a pretty cool moment for me," Fowler said. "If there was one person I could handle losing that game to it’s him. I was happy for him and the tournament that he had and I think for him to show that after a heartbreaking loss was still pretty cool for me."
Selanne’s record sixth and presumed final Olympics were quite possibly his best. He helped Finland to a bronze for the third time in his national team tenure and scored six points, just one behind Mikael Granlund for the team lead, and scored a team-leading four goals.
Those six points make him the all-time Olympic points leader and he became the oldest Olympic hockey medalist at 43 years old. Selanne was named the Olympic Hockey MVP, a fitting way for the legendary Ducks player to go out.
"The Finnish national team has been a very happy place for me," Selanne said. "All the success that we have had is something very special. Every time we go to these tournaments where all the best players are playing, nobody expects us to win anything. But we always surprise people. We know we can compete against the best teams and best players, and we did it again.
"I’m very proud of that."
‘Every time we go to these tournaments where all the best players are playing, nobody expects us to win anything. But we always surprise people’
-- Teemu Selanne on Team Finland
But what he did in Sochi is different than this season in Anaheim. This NHL season — the 43-year-old’s 21st — is also his final and he’s typically logging less than 15 minutes per game. He lamented his lack of playing time in Orange County while in Sochi and when asked whether or not his dominant Olympic performance would lead to more ice time in Anaheim, he felt it was only right to take the focus off of him and put it squarely back on the team’s Stanley Cup chase.
"I’m not going to answer that question," Selanne said. "This is not my first year, I know what I can do. I’m a professional player and I accept any role. This is my last year and I know whatever way I can help, I want to do it."
The Ducks own the best record in the NHL and with 87 points are still the league leaders. They will resume play Friday night (on Prime Ticket) at the Honda Center against the Blues, who are currently tied for second place in the West. Selanne plans to build on that Olympic performance in an effort to bring the Ducks back to the Stanley Cup finals.
"The role I had there brought the passion into my game," Selanne said. "Hopefully I can use that here too."