Teemu Selanne may be in the final year of his NHL career, but he's still finding fresh ways to experience the game internationally. Selanne has been named Finland's Captain after Mikko Koivu had to withdraw due to injury. This marks Selanne's second stint with the 'C' sewn to his jersey, having done so for Finland at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
In 47 games this season with the Ducks, Selanne has posted seven goals and 20 points. A first round pick (10th overall at the 1988 NHL Entry Draft), the Finnish Captain has come a long way from his 76-goal NHL debut with theWinnipeg Jets during the 1992-93 season.
Selanne will be looked upon to lead an injury-riddled Finnish squad in Sochi. Early reports have the Anaheim Ducks veteran slotted in on Finland's top line alongside Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund and Florida Panthers rookie Aleksander Barkov.
Mikael Granlund may center Finland's top line between Selanne and Barkov. Selanne (43) is older than Barkov (18) and Granlund (21) combined— Tal Pinchevsky (@TalPinch) February 10, 2014
With Valterri Filppula also missing the Olympics due to a fracture in his ankle, Finland's depth will be tested. Both Barkov and Selanne will be asked to take on responsibilities beyond the original expectations of their roles with the team.
Selanne's rank within Finland's lineup began to climb indirectly when Saku Koivu declined an offer to play. Koivu, who said he hasn't felt the same since he suffered a severe concussion earlier in the season, had captained Finland in the past and was considered a candidate to lead again in Sochi.
When Saku's younger brother, Mikko Koivu, had to drop out of the games as he was unable to recover quickly enough from a broken ankle that required surgery, Finland had a decision to make. Other candidates for the captaincy included Winnipeg Jets forward Olli Jokinen and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen.
While it's hard to argue with the decision to move forward with Selanne, one has to wonder if the Finnish Flash still has enough fuel to match the intensity and quality of the competition. We all love a good underdog, so here's he can help tip the ice in Finland's favor.
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