During the Sochi Games, when Teemu Selanne was helping to lead Finland to bronze with a stellar performance, a smart hockey person told me a curious thing: That they anticipated Selanne would be a healthy scratch in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Anaheim.
Again, this is was odd, because (1) Selanne was playing out of his mind in the Olympics and (2) because one of the cardinal rules of managing a successful hockey team is that you don’t make Teemu Selanne a healthy scratch. Ever.
And yet here we are: Selanne will be a healthy scratch in playoff game for just the second time in his career, deferring to young speedster Emerson Etem as the Anaheim Ducks try to get their offense rolling in Game 4 at the Dallas Stars.
Why scratch Selanne? He has one assist in three games, that coming in Game 1 vs. the Stars. He had two shots on goal in each of the last two games. He has just four points in his last 11 games, and hasn’t scored a goal since March 23. The power play, where you assume Selanne would be an asset? Yeah, he hasn’t produced a power-play point since Jan. 28(!).
All of this despite Coach Bruce Boudreau giving Selanne the most advantageous zone starts of any forward in the postseason for Anaheim.
Why was this predicted back in Sochi? Because his play there was in contrast to what he had done, and how he had looked, for the Ducks. Sad as it sounds, there’s been talk all season that this wasn’t just Selanne’s last NHL season but that it needed to be his last season because he was inching closer to being a liability.
And now he’s a healthy scratch in a pivotal playoff game.
While we’d love to chalk this up to Boudreau’s linger ocho-phobia from this Capitals playoff days, in reality, it was time for Teemu to hit the press box.