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Pacific: Selanne among NHL's ultra-elite scorers

by John Kreiser
The 600-goal club is one of the NHL's truly elite groups -- hockey legends like Maurice "The Rocket" Richard and Mike Bossy aren't in it. But Teemu Selanne is.
The Anaheim Ducks forward became the NHL's 18th 600-goal man Sunday when he scored a power-play goal 34 seconds into the second period of his team's 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Honda Center. Selanne had a wide-open net with goaltender Craig Anderson out of position.
"I guess that was the easiest I've had in a while," Selanne said. "I've had a lot of chances the last three games, but nothing went in. Then you get one of those. It's amazing the way my teammates have been feeding me the puck. I think they wanted this more than I did. Obviously, it's a great feeling, and I don't have to think about it anymore."
Selanne has 373 goals as a Duck, but his first NHL goal came on Oct. 8, 1992, when he beat San Jose's Jeff Hackett while playing for the Winnipeg Jets.
"I remember that like it was yesterday -- Cow Palace against the Sharks," Selanne said. "There have been a lot of goals between one and 600. Time is flying. It's unbelievable how fast it goes. If somebody would have told me at that time that I was going to score 600 goals in this League, I would call the doctor."
Selanne is the third European player to reach 600 goals. No. 601 will tie him with former Edmonton star Jari Kurri for the most by a player from Finland (Czech-born Jaromir Jagr is tops with 646). Kurri is flying in from Finland and will be among those on hand at the Honda Center Monday night when the Ducks honor Selanne for his accomplishment.
A lift from Lee -- Of all the moves Phoenix GM Don Maloney made at the trade deadline, the deal that brought forward Lee Stempniak from Toronto has paid the biggest dividends.
Stempniak had just 14 goals in 62 games with the Leafs, earning him a ticket out of town as GM Brian Burke retools in Toronto. But he's been a revelation in the desert, scoring nine times in 10 games to help the Coyotes run off a nine-game winning streak, matching the franchise record.
That total includes three 2-goal games -- the last of which came Saturday, when the Coyotes twice rallied from two-goal deficits to beat Chicago 5-4 in a shootout before a packed house at Arena.
Needless to say, Stempniak is pleased to get a chance to start over.

"I wanted to come here and just have a fresh start," Stempniak said. "I scored goals before and I know I can do it,"
Stempniak said his new teammates have made him feel at home -- and that's made producing on the ice easier.

"It's been real easy (to fit in)," Stempniak said. "The first thing I noticed was it's just a great group of guys. Everyone went out of their way to make me feel welcomed. I didn't know anyone really, other then Keith Yandle in passing. So for everyone to go out of their way and make you feel like you fit in, it obviously helps the transition on-ice, too."
Norris candidate? -- Is Drew Doughty too young to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman?
At age 20, the Los Angeles blueliner is already among the NHL's best. He's third in scoring among defensemen and is among the top 15 in ice time and plus-minus. That's on the heels of playing a significant role as the youngest member of Team Canada at the Winter Olympics.
Kings coach Terry Murray said it's not too early to talk about Doughty for the Norris.
"I'd throw his name in there," Murray told the Kings' Web site. "I threw his name in there for rookie of the year (last year), and he never made the final three, which is still mind-boggling to me. But his year has been spectacular through this season. The points, the key situations, the fact that the team has moved up in the standings and is starting to get some recognition around the League.
"He's an anchor for us back there, and I think, right now, he's comparable, number-wise and on the defensive part of the game, with plus-minus and minutes played. He has to have some consideration by the people who vote for it, for sure."
Doughty didn't hurt his visibility by scoring the OT winner in Monday's 4-3 win over Colorado -- on a play that Murray said was designed for someone else to shoot.
"If I actually told you how the play was drawn up on the board, you'd be upset at him shooting the puck," he said with a laugh. "But he read the play. That was not the designed play that we talked about, but it was a great read on his part, because their forward took away (Jarret) Stoll. They were looking for him to get the puck back for the one-timer, and he's got a reputation for being able to score from that side. They cheated on it, they stayed in front of Stolly, and that's a good read by Doughty."
Ribeiro revival -- The Dallas Stars missed Mike Ribeiro badly when the veteran center was sidelined with a throat injury in early January -- he was hit accidentally by a stick and needed an emergency tracheotomy. The injury kept him from participating in any physical activities for the next couple of week for fear that his throat would swell up and prevent him from breathing.

"Usually when players get injured they are at least able to keep their aerobic condition up to some state, but he couldn't do anything," coach Marc Crawford told the team's Web site. "That's a rarity. That injury has only happened three times that they could look up. It is a very, very strange injury."
Ribeiro missed more than a month before returning on Feb. 9 and scoring a goal against Chicago. He's continued to put up points, getting 15 in the 15 games since his return, and has flourished since being reunited with Brenden Morrow.
"We've been on and off the same line all year," Ribeiro said. "I've been all over the place with every line. To have him back, we're trying to do good things for the team which is nice. Every time we get back together we seem happy. It's easier to play. Hopefully we can keep going that way."
Brenden Segal, who came on waivers from Los Angeles last month, has fit right in as the third member of the line. Segal, Morrow and Ribeiro have had chemistry almost from the moment they were put together.

"With Ribs' skill, it's easier for Morrow or me to get open," Segal said. "We know that we're going to get the puck. We've just been taking it to the net and obviously helping create space for each other. It's really been working for us. Getting in on the points, on the goals has really definitely helped me fit in. It's always nice to get off to a fast start. I can't ask for anything better, especially for playing with two great linemates like that. You know that they're going to be going every night."
Around the Pacific -- Selanne also had an assist in Sunday's milestone game. It was the 646th of his career, the second-lowest total of any 600-goal scorer. Bobby Hull had just 560; his son Brett had 650. ... Selanne's teams have won in the games in which he scored his 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th and 600th goals. They lost 3-2 at Colorado in a shootout on Nov. 28, 2006, on the night he scored his 500th. ... The records keep falling in Phoenix. Sunday's 3-2 shootout win over Dallas gave the Coyotes 97 points, passing the franchise mark of 96 set by the 1984-85 Winnipeg Jets. Last Thursday's win at Florida was the team's 44th, breaking the mark of 43 set by the 1984-85 team. The Coyotes also tied a franchise mark with nine wins in a row before losing 2-0 at Chicago on March 23. ... Kings backup goaltender Erik Ersberg saw his first action in more than a month when he relieved Jonathan Quick late in the first period of Wednesday's game in Colorado. Ersberg didn't allow a goal in 46:44 of action, but allowed two goals in the shootout and was on the wrong end of the 4-3 loss to the Avs. ... San Jose's Rib Blake became the third defenseman in NHL history to record three or more assists in one game after his 40th birthday when he set up three of the Sharks' four goals in a 4-1 win at Minnesota on Tuesday. He joins Tim Horton, who did it twice, and Carl Brewer. ... Dallas took over the NHL lead in shootout losses when the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Stars 3-2 at American Airlines Center on Sunday. ... Dallas' Jamie Benn has 19 goals, the second-highest total for a Stars' rookie since the franchise moved from Minnesota in 1993. He's five behind James Neal, who had 24 last season.
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