The 36-year-old Finn was ecstatic after Anaheim’s 6-2 clincher Wednesday night. “This is a very tough league to win in,” said Selanne. “I’ve been so close to winning an Olympic gold medal and world championship gold medals and it’s never happened.
“I’m so happy that I finally won something. The Stanley Cup is the biggest trophy for a hockey player and that’s why this is so special.”
He’ll be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and says he hasn’t decided if he’ll continue playing. He’d been hampered by a serious knee injury before re-signing with the Ducks in 2005.
“I was able to play again like I did my first 10 years,” he said. “It was almost a feeling that somebody got glasses when you can’t see very well then all of a sudden you can see the world so bright.”
He led the Ducks with 48 regular-season goals in 2006-2007. The last two years have been the best of his life, he said.
“It was just an unbelievable feeling to skate pain-free again,” he said. “I got all my strength back and the speed and everything and the passion of the game back – the fun. I was smiling driving to the rink.”
After playing so many games over his NHL career, dreaming of winning the Stanley Cup, Selanne says the wait was worth it.
“Waiting a long time for something like this makes it even more special,” he said. “I’m so proud of my teammates.
“We’ve been like brothers and we have had one dream together and that’s why it’s so special.”
QUICK SUCCESS: Only four franchises in the expansion era of the NHL since 1968 took fewer seasons than the 14 Anaheim needed to win their first championship.
The Edmonton Oilers did it in their fifth, Philadelphia Flyers in their seventh, the New York Islanders in their eighth and the Tampa Bay Lightning in their 12th.
PARADE SET – The Ducks announced after their 6-2 clincher that they will hold a public victory celebration on Saturday evening outside the Honda Center.
EXCLUSIVE CLUB: Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer won the Stanley Cup with his second NHL team, becoming the ninth active player to do so.
Others are Chris Chelios (Montreal 1986 and Detroit 2002), Jamie Langenbrunner (Dallas 1999 and New Jersey 2003), Mark Recchi (Pittsburgh 1991 and Carolina 2006), Cory Stillman (Tampa Bay 2004 and Carolina 2006), Darryl Sydor (Dallas 1999 and Tampa Bay 2004), Tim Taylor (Detroit 1997 and Tampa Bay 2004), Aaron Ward (Detroit 1997 and 1998, Carolinea (2006) and Sergei Zubov (New York Rangers 1994 and Dallas 1999).
TOP SCORERS: Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, who comprised hockey’s highest-scoring line during the regular season, finished 1-2-3 in playoff scoring with 22 points each.
Alfredsson led the way with 14 goals and eight assists, and Spezza and Heatley each scored seven goals and picked up 15 assists.
NO ICE: The Ottawa Senators couldn’t get the Honda Center ice time they wanted and they went into Game 5 of the NHL’s championship series without a morning skate Wednesday.
The same thing happened before 5 p.m. local time (PDT) starts last week in the home rink of the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks had a 9:30 a.m. practice and the Senators could have gone on the ice afterwards, but coach Bryan Murray said that would have left insufficient time for his players to properly rest for the big game.
Murray said he would have taken 7 a.m. ice time for his players but “they wouldn’t let us go before them.”
“I thought the NHL would give that allowance to us but that wasn’t the case,” said Murray. “So, yes, we wanted to practice (Wednesday) morning.
“We would even go out with the officials and play shinny and they wouldn’t let us do that.”
TIGHT CONNECTION: Scott and Rob Niedermayer of the Ducks became the first brothers to win the Stanley Cup together since Brent and Duane Sutter in 1983 with the New York Islanders.
GOOD AT HOME: The Ducks were 10-2 on home ice during the 2007 playoffs.
Since the start of the 2003 playoffs, they a 23-7 at home. In addition, they are 8-0 in series-clinching games at home including 4-0 this year.
CONTENTED COACH: Ducks coach Randy Carlyle was asked if he got a good sleep on the eve of Game 5 with his team just one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.
“Slept like a baby,” said Carlyle.
He wasn’t going to get much sleep Wednesday night.
TIE RECORD: Anaheim tied the NHL record for most one-goal victories in one playoff year, 12. The 2003 Mighty Ducks and the 1993 Montreal Canadiens share the record.
BEST IN LEAGUE: The Ducks have the most playoff wins (40) in the NHL since the start of the 2003 post-season.
Ottawa is second with 30.
KUNITZ RETURNS: Ducks winger Chris Kunitz of Regina returned to the lineup for Game 5. Kunitz sat out eight games with a broken hand and was back for Game 3 only to suffer an abdominal bruise that forced him to miss Game 4.
McAMMOND STAYS OUT: Dean McAmmond remained out of Ottawa’s starting 20-man lineup. McAmmond was hurt in Game 3 when he was elbowed in the head by Chris Pronger, who received a one-game suspension.