The recent Sports Journal finally tried to clear up the hockey issue, which was considered unresolved.
Whichever is Finland's all-time hockey player, Jari Kurri, 60 or Teemu Selänne, 50. Urheilulehti asked 50 international experts if you would name (in the face of compulsion) Finland's all-time player and why.
Urheilulehti 28: Which is Finland's all-time hockey player - Teemu Selänne or Jari Kurri?
It was made clear to the respondents that since there is no absolute right or wrong answer to the question, the answer in the form of “impossible choice” is not valid.
The sports magazine reached 55 well-known puck people. Five respondents could not or did not want to form their position. The difficulty of the task is indicated by the fact that a large proportion of respondents started the answer by sighing deeply.
- This is like having to choose one of two family members, said GM Jarmo Kekäläinen of Columbus.
Kekäläinen chose Kurr and was not the only one. As many as 39 respondents voted for Kurr and 11 for Selänte.
The sports magazine asked international hockey influencers for an answer to a topic that has been teasing the hockey people for a long time.
Kurr’s superiority is likely to be explained, at least in part, by the generational distribution of respondents. The sports magazine emphasized respondents in their search for experts who have seen the Curonian Spit in Edmonton in the 1980s.
For the puck people of that era, Kurri is a great pioneer who paved the way for other Finns to enter the NHL.
But he was also voted by the younger ones, such as MoDo's new head coach, 43-year-old Ville Nieminen:
- Although the requirements and level differences of the game were at a different level than during Selänte, Kurr's pioneering work is weighed in the horizontal cup. In a large Finnish sound catalog, Kurri acted as a scorer for the goal, which Selänne finished from the back post. Kurri’s achievements without Gretzky and as a center striker are also successful and undeniable.
- Sometimes it annoys Kurr that many current juniors may not even realize how good a player he was. In recent years, Kurr has been written about only in connection with the Jokers. Most of the writings have been negative, said ex-NHL star Olli Jokinen, 41.
Five Stanley Cups (one on Selänte) and really tough playoff statistics also spoke in favor of Kurr. Many contemporaries reminded that Kurri was also a more versatile player than Selänne, who was profiled as a goal scorer.
On the other hand, many note that Selänne was never allowed to play with a top like Wayne Gretzky.
- True, he played with Wayne Gretzky, but it was also a demanding place, because in his own end Jari played so much as a centerpiece, ex-NHL player, player-agent Petteri Lehto stated.
- When attacking, Gretzky almost always drifted to the right side - Jari's playing field - so in addition to the center game of his own head, the Finn had to play a lot on the left side in the same substitution. No one else can play this top three game, often in the same turn.
Your back also received support from your parents.
- Your back has never really been allowed to play with players as good as Kurri. Your back almost alone had to acquire insane achievements. Kurri was a great player, and an overall player, but Selänte's skating and scoring were on an even tougher level, the national team's ex-head coach Pentti Matikainen, 69, explained.
- It seems that when there were players of exactly the same level around, Teemu got more numbers, commented ex-NHL star Sami Kapanen, 47.
From the famous Tupu – Hupu – Lupu chain, Jere Lehtinen and Ville Peltonen chose Kurr, but Saku Koivu cast his vote for Selänte. The legendary center of the red machine, Igor Larionov, replied succinctly: I choose Jarin.
After all, there was a reasonable consensus that the title of Finland's all-time player belongs, at least for the time being, to either Kurr or Selänte.
However, the national team's ex-head coach Alpo Suhonen had a different view on this as well.
- No one is Finland's all-time player. From the 60's: Lasse Oksanen, Vellu Ketola, Jari Kurri, Teemu Selänne, Kimmo Timonen, Tuukka Rask, and maybe in this decade Barkov, Aho and Laine. Nor can Nurmea be compared to Viren or Hakulista to Myllylä, Suhonen explained.
Comprehensive survey in the recent Sports Journal 28/2020.
This is how the votes were distributed
A voice for Kurr
Sound for the Back