Teemu Selanne’s post-hockey life now includes a new biography in his native Finland. It’s only been a few months since the future Hall of Famer retired, but several revelations in the book make it sound like Selanne could still be playing if a few things were different in the last year of his career with the Anaheim Ducks.
Like a lot of post-career biographies do, Selanne drops some serious bombs, perhaps the most salacious of which involve current Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
“If we had any other coach, I’d still play,” Selanne said according to translated excerpts obtained by Sportsnet.ca’s Chris Johnston.
There was much more on Selanne’s working relationship with Boudreau particularly over the last season, including Selanne’s belief that Boudreau is to blame for the Ducks falling short in the playoffs.
“It would have been wrong if we had won the Stanley Cup with a coach like that,” said Selanne.
Boudreau has long been criticized for his teams' failures in the playoffs. The head coach has never made it past the second round in six trips to the postseason.
Some of Selanne’s barbs at Boudreau stem from how the veteran forward was used last season. He complained about not seeing as much time as he was promised on the power-play unit and that his ice time kept shrinking.
Things came to a head when Selanne was scratched for Game 4 of the Ducks’ first-round series against the Dallas Stars.
“I waited after everyone else had left the ice and skated to Boudreau,” he said. “I yelled at him right to his face with what I was thinking. I asked what he has against me. I told him that since he became our coach, he has not respected me one bit. You never put me on ice when we play 5-on-3 or 4-on-4 or when we are one goal behind in the end of the game. Be honest for one time and answer.
“He just stammered that decisions were not his alone and it was a group decision. I asked which group and he said GM and scouts. I yelled at him ‘Whoa, what kind of a coach are you if you don’t even decide the lineup?’ He tried to skate away but I just yelled that I wasn’t finished.
“I told Boudreau if you ever want to win something in a playoffs, you’re going to need me. Nobody else wants to win as much as me.”
Though Selanne said that he had no personal issues with Boudreau, calling him a “nice man,” it’s pretty clear that Selanne’s final year was anything but rosy.
At age 43, the Finnish Flash appeared in 64 games and scored just nine goals. He also had his lowest average ice time of his career at 14:08 last season. His ice time dipped even further in the postseason, as he averaged 12:17. Despite the lighter usage, Selanne had six points in 12 playoff games.
Selanne may have some legitimate gripes with Boudreau, but aside from his performance in the Olympics, the veteran forward didn’t necessarily look like his former self out there in 2013-14. That could be tied to his usage last season, and that’s what Selanne feels at least, but is that just a prideful player not wanting to admit his career is over?
It looks more like sour grapes than anything else, which is unfortunate because Selanne has been one of the league’s best liked players. Also, inflammatory revelations help sell books, so that’s important to keep in mind, too.
According to Juha Hiitela, a Finnish journalist who also read the book and shared some translations, Selanne was also critical of former coaches Randy Carlyle, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs after coaching Selanne in Anaheim, and former Colorado Avalanche head coach Tony Granato in the book.
The biography, which was written by journalist Ari Mennander in Finnish with Selanne’s support, may eventually be translated to English in full according to Johnston. Hiitela says a portion of the proceeds of the book will be going to charity.
Now it looks like Boudreau will have some unanticipated fun new questions to answer when the Ducks open training camp.