|With his goal at Colorado on Monday, Selanne passed Kurri for sole possession of 19th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list. |
Although Finnish hockey legend Jari Kurri planned his mid-March trip to Anaheim a couple of months ago, it just so happened to come at the perfect time. Kurri’s friend and fellow countryman Teemu Selanne
passed him for sole possession of 19th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list just two days ago in Colorado.
Selanne tallied his 1,399th point with a power play goal late in the third period of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Avalanche. In doing so, he became the league’s all-time top scorer from Finland, overtaking Kurri, who finished his 17-year career in 1998 with 1,398 career points. The two were once teammates on the 1996-97 Anaheim Ducks, and Kurri also played with the Oilers, Kings, Rangers and Avalanche during his NHL tenure.
Kurri currently serves as the General Manager of the Finnish national hockey team. Finland and Sweden will serves as hosts for the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championships. After the preliminary rounds and quarterfinals are split between the two countries, the semifinals and medal games will be played in Helsinki.
Before the Ducks-Red Wings game on Wednesday night, Kurri took some time to talk with the local media. On when he first learned of Teemu Selanne
He was in my hockey school when he was 20 years old, so that is 21 years ago. Everyone knew his talent, how much fun he has in this game and how motivated he is. It was no secret. He works hard. He keeps it going by taking care of himself. The older he gets, the faster he is getting. I don’t know how he does that. It should be the other way the older you get, you get slower. On Selanne still playing well in his 40s
I recognized how much works he does. He takes good care of himself. After that knee injury he had in Colorado, he really wanted to come back and prove to everybody that he can be a good player. He really changed everything, as far as his training and eating. He really takes care of himself. Nobody can figure out how he can keep the speed up. That’s amazing for sure.On Selanne possibly playing for Finland in the World Championships
I don’t really want to talk about that right now. They are in the playoff hunt. Everybody, the coaches here and myself, really want them to go the playoffs. That is the No. 1 priority. If the chance comes, sure we would be happy to invite Teemu. Hopefully he would come. That is still up in the air. We will have to wait and see.
We’ll give them 10 more games and see what happens. Then, we’ll react. It’s as simple as that. That is why we always come here once a year, with the head coach, to see the boys and how they are doing, how they are feeling.On coincidentally being in Anaheim
We planned this trip almost two months ago. Everything happened points-wise and I was here when he had 600 goals. It’s a good time for me too.On if Selanne should keep playing
I am really happy. I have known him many, many years. We are good friends and have had lots of fun together. I had a chance to play with him one year here in Anaheim. It’s fun to be around. Everybody is happy for him. Keep going, why stop right now?
I’m hoping he keeps playing. Why stop? I know he wants to win and wants to do well. He is playing well. I don’t see any reason to stop.On where he was when Selanne passed him in points
I was coming back from Dubai. I was in the Munich airport when I got the message he broke the record. I have a hockey school (in Dubai). They play hockey there. There have a lot of Canadians who are working there.
On his position as Finland’s General Manager
It’s great to be part of the game. I have been with the national team for 10 teams. I’m in a different position now as management. It’s not a full-time job, so it also gives me time to do hockey schools in Dubai and relax. It’s a good situation for me.