Hockey-Talks-Banner.png NHL Jets Home NHL Jets Facebook NHL Jets Twitter NHL Jets Instagram Sign Up for Jets Mail Mobile App
breakingnews_bar.png Twitter Facebook Instagram Manage Your Account Jets Pass HQ

Tkachuk feels fortunate to have been Selanne's teammate

Wednesday, 14.12.2011 / 3:41 PM / Feature
NHL.com
It's one of those memories that always will make Keith Tkachuk shake his head in disbelief.

Tkachuk, who retired in 2010 and was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in Chicago, was just 20 years old and playing his first full season with the original version of the Winnipeg Jets when Teemu Selanne, a 22-year old Jets rookie, scored a jaw-dropping 76 goals.

That mark shattered Mike Bossy's old NHL rookie scoring record of 54 goals and remains a record today. Selanne also added 56 assists that season, and his 132 points also remains a League record for first-year players.

It didn't take Tkachuk or anyone else long to realize just how good the "Finnish Flash" was -- especially at skating and putting the puck in the net.

"The first day of training camp, you saw him and you noticed how skilled he was and how fast," said Tkachuk, who had 28 goals and 51 points himself that season. "He was determined to score goals and nobody could score goals skating with that speed like he did. There's only one other guy, Joe Sakic, so it was pretty cool to see."

It also was a little mind-numbing to witness.

The first day of training camp, you saw him and you noticed how skilled he was and how fast. He was determined to score goals and nobody could score goals skating with that speed like he did. - Keith Tkachuk
Nobody just walks into the NHL straight from playing in Finland and scores 76 goals as a rookie … except Selanne, who still is giving opposing goalies problems at the age of 41 for the Anaheim Ducks. He has 9 goals and 20 assists in 29 games this season, after scoring 31 goals last season. His 646 goals are second among active players and 13th all-time.

Selanne will return to Winnipeg on Saturday to face the re-born version of the Jets at MTS Centre, but what he did nearly 20 years ago still makes people marvel when they think about it.

"That was unbelievable," Tkachuk said. "I mean, you just sat back and you were in awe of what was happening. I don't think anybody was ready to see how fast this kid (was). Nobody could keep up (with) him."

Not many goalies were ready for the speed and skill combination he possessed, either. Selanne's skating and defenseman Phil Housley's offensive talents in the passing game were a lethal combination. Housley scored 18 goals in 1992-93 but also had 79 assists -- many of which, as Tkachuk recalled, went straight to Selanne.

"You know, to score 76 goals … that's unheard of," Tkachuk said. "I mean, everything was going in (for Selanne). He got more breakaways in a game just because of his speed and his relationship with Phil Housley, who'd send him all the time. It was pretty remarkable. I'm glad I was a part of that."

Luke Adam
Keith Tkachuk
Left wing - career staTs
GOALS: 538 | ASST: 527 | PTS: 1,065
GAMES PLAYED: 1,201 | +/-: 33
Tkachuk also has another, more humorous, memory of that season with Selanne. On the night Selanne broke the rookie scoring record -- with a hat trick against the Quebec Nordiques -- Tkachuk had an odd stat line of his own to ponder.

"The game he broke the rookie record, we won like 6-5 and the only reason I remember that game was because I was minus-5 that night and I scored a goal," Tkachuk said, laughing. "I don't know how that could happen."

Equally as puzzling is the way Selanne seemingly never loses his great first step, speed and magic around the net.

"He just has a great knack for knowing how to score goals," said former star defenseman Chris Chelios. "I watched him play the other night and I've seen how he does it. I've seen how just all of a sudden disappears, goes behind the net and then he's wide open on the other side. He's a great player."

Tkachuk agrees.

"It's great to see," he said. "He's 40-something years old and still going out and getting the job done. It's fun to see. Hopefully he can keep doing it."


Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01