Selanne sets Olympic record
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - Apparently, more than a few people think these might be the worst Olympic Games ever.
Teemu Selanne isn’t one of them.
“This is going to be the greatest experience with Canadian fans. Vancouver, it’s the best city in the world. This is dream come true for a hockey player,” said the Finnish Flash after Finland took down Belarus 5-1 Wednesday.
Selanne tied the all-time scoring mark at the Olympics Wednesday with an assist, giving him 36 points along with Vlastimil Bubnik of Czechoslovakia, Valeri Kharlamov of the Soviet Union and Canada’s Harry Watson.
“It’s a complete honour. I’ve been lucky over the years. This is my fifth Olympics and I always play with great players, so good things happen. Nothing more than that,” said Selanne.
“This has been a happy place for me.”
Selanne, a class act, is held in high regard in the game. The younger Finnish players idolize the guy.
“He’s worn the Finnish sweater every time he could have. He’s put up great numbers every time he’s played,” said teammate Sami Salo. “It’s an honour for sure to play with him the times that I’ve been able to play.”
HEAR AND THERE: Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is a passionate owner and has done a marvellous of elevating the Caps to exalted status in D.C. He doesn’t think the atmosphere in GM Place matches that at Caps games, which is fair comment, but it’s a little apples and oranges. Here’s what he wrote in his blog: “To be honest our Red Outs and our crowds at Caps games are louder and more passionate than this game at the Olympics. I mean that. Our playoff game crowds or our crowds when we play the Penguins or Flyers are as loud as or louder than these Olympic crowds.” I’d suggest he not be so quick to rush to judgement. Canada vs. USA Sunday will be much different than the 8-0 blowout of Norway and if Canada makes it to the gold medal game, it will make a Caps game look like, well, a Caps game from five or six years ago ...
THE BUZZ: It’s always amusing to put some foreign-language accounts of hockey games through the Google translator. The Norwegian paper Dagbladet was translated as saying: “Canada set four rows of definite world stars in the Olympics at home — while Norway’s collection of large parts amateurs and some professionals in advance was considered a clean doormat of my favorites among the fans in Vancouver.” And I love this one: “Ryan Getzlaf exploited a Norwegian awaiting deportation,” which I think means receiving a delayed penalty, but who knows? ...
REVELATIONS: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had his flight here from New York cancelled. He wound up flying into Seattle and driving here. Given his popularity in Canada, wonder if he got, um, extra attention at the border ... You can understand people not getting too excited about watching Canada beat up on the poor Norwegians. As Canadian cross-country skier Gordon Jewett tweeted: “Watching Hawksley Workman in Whistler Village Square. Feel like a traitor for not watching hockey, but we even beat Norway in XC these days.” ... We get just about the best seats in the house with press row located about 15 rows off the ice on the red line, but it comes with a price. A puck shot by Saku Koivu ripped into the press tribune Wednesday and almost took out Finnish reporter Timo Kunnari. “I’m going to have to talk to him,” said Kunnari.
THE LAST WORD: Selanne on Finland’s chances: “Nobody expects us to challenge the big teams, but you never know. We all come from the same league and drink the same beer.”