By Michael Walters
It comes as no surprise that Selanne was selected in his fist year of eligibility. Selanne leads the Ducks in the following categories: career goals(457), Single-season goals(52), career points(998), single-season points(109), Career winning goals (77), Career power-play goals(182), Career power-play assists(224), Career power-play points(410), Career games(996), and career hat tricks(13). Selanne won the first Stanley Cup for the Anaheim Ducks, which was also the first time a California team had won the trophy.
For Kariya, it took his fifth year of eligibility to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Kariya was the Ducks first ever NHL Entry Draft pick 1993. Kariya was the face of the Mighty Ducks for 9 years. He quickly became the Ducks Captain in 1996 and set many scoring records during the years he played in Anaheim. He scored 50 goals in just his second season in the NHL as a Duck. He followed up that season with 44 goals the next season. Kariya scored 300 goals as a Duck averaging 33 goals a season. He also registered 669 total points averaging 74 points a season while in Anaheim.
Kariya and Selanne lead the Ducks to their first-ever playoff appearance in the 1996-97 postseason. The Ducks got down 3-2 in the series and played Game 6 in Arizona. With the scored tied, the game went to overtime and Kariya scored the game-winner to force a Game 7. The Ducks ended up winning the series and moving on to the next round.
After Selanne had been traded away from Anaheim, Kariya lead the Ducks to their first ever Stanley Cup appearance in the 2002-03 season. The Ducks ended up going the distance before losing in seven games. The big moment that stands out was the “Off the floor, on the board” goal Kariya scored in Game 6. After being knocked out by Scott Stevens, it appeared that Kariya’s night was done. However, he later came back in the game and scored a goal solidifying a victory to force a Game 7.
Despite many of the accomplishments Kariya did for Anaheim, there are still some that didn’t like how he left after being only one win away from the Stanley Cup. GM Bryan Murray at the time wanted to re-sign Kariya and get more supporting cast to build on the 2003 Stanley Cup run. Kariya instead decided to leave to try to win a Stanley Cup in Colorado with Selanne.
Kariya commented to the media today on being elected to Hockey Hall of Fame:
“It’s still not really sinking in after I got the call today,” Kariya said. “I’m still pinching myself, and I don’t really know what to say. Certainly, to be going in with Teemu, I wouldn’t be getting this call if I didn’t get the opportunity to play with him.
“He made me a better player, made me a better person, and I appreciate everything he did for me off the ice as well as obviously on the ice. It’s just an incredible honor, and something I never thought in a million years I’d achieve.”
The Samuelis had this to say about Selanne and Kariya:
“What a tremendous day for our franchise to have two players named 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees,” Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said. “Both Teemu and Paul now rightfully take their place among legendary players in the history of the sport.
“The relationship Teemu has with our fans is unparalleled in professional sports. Paul was the first true face of our franchise and helped put the organization on the map. Congratulations to both.”
Should Kariya’s number be retired by Anaheim?
Selanne was asked about the retiring of Kariya’s number and he said, “I think his number has to go up. … Can’t wait until that day comes.”
When Kariya was asked about it, he deflected and said players like Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Scott Niedermayer who won the Cup in Anaheim should get the honor first.
Kariya helped start a franchise and develop hockey fans in the Southern California region. Some of his records in Anaheim have been broken, but he still leads the franchise in these categories: Short-handed goals(16), Goals Per Game(0.49), Goals Created Per Game(0.43), and Points Per Game(1.10). He also led Anaheim as the Captain to their first playoff appearance and series win. He also led the team to their first Stanley Cup Final coming up just one game short of the title.
Many, including myself, think it’s time his number is retired in Anaheim. What do you think?
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June 26th, 2017