It's time for a permanent form of tribute to Teemu Selanne to be established here in Winnipeg.

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This article was published 13/1/2015 (2391 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opinion

It's time for a permanent form of tribute to Teemu Selanne to be established here in Winnipeg.

While retiring his jersey is problematic, and likely not very fitting, the idea of a bronzed statue of Selanne in his shooting-a-glove-out-of-the-air pose seems perfect.

Winnipeg Jet Teemu Selanne in a game against the Vancouver Canucks in the 1990s.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Jet Teemu Selanne in a game against the Vancouver Canucks in the 1990s.

It's arguably the most memorable moment in Winnipeg hockey history and worthy of being forever honoured.

Not lost in all the Selanne celebrations this weekend was the connection Winnipeggers still have with the player and in particular his rookie season with the Jets.

It's a moment in time that hasn't been tarnished over the years and Selanne's 76 goals as an NHL rookie is an iconic accomplishment.

Playing parts of four seasons in Winnipeg and scoring 147 goals and 306 points, however, isn't jersey retiring stuff.

Not to mention the thorny subject of "what franchise owns those statistics anyway?" The Jets for which Selanne played were sold to Phoenix.

But this isn't a Jets issue. It's a Winnipeg hockey issue.

Teemu Selanne and his family watch his number rise to the rafters Sunday in Anaheim. The stands featured a large number of Winnipeggers who fondly remember the Finnish Flash's time with  the first incarnation  of the Winnipeg Jets.

MICHAL GOULDING / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Teemu Selanne and his family watch his number rise to the rafters Sunday in Anaheim. The stands featured a large number of Winnipeggers who fondly remember the Finnish Flash's time with the first incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets.

Like the Winnipeg Falcons, the WHA teams and their championships, and Billy Mosienko's three goals in 21 seconds.

Selanne's time in Winnipeg was but a flash. Honouring it while adding some permanency seems fitting.

Fans would love a statue. They would take pictures with it and they would revere it. It would, like Selanne's rookie season, become a Winnipeg thing.

My colleague Randy Turner had this to say about Selanne on Sunday night.

"Some are confused about #NHLJets fans affection for Teemu Selanne. It's simple. He was a shining example of what they lost when the NHL left," tweeted Turner.

Perfectly said. And well worth remembering.

 

Ladd one of Canada's best

NHL statistics shows Jets captain Andrew Ladd ranks sixth among Canadian-born skaters with 16 goals and 14th with 35 points. If you narrow the search down to position, Ladd ranks third in both totals among Canadian-born left-wingers.

Ladd was invited to Team Canada's orientation camp two summers ago but was eventually on the outside looking in when the team was chosen for the Sochi Olympic Games.

The 29-year-old simply didn't do enough in the first half of last season to play his way on to Team Canada. The big ice used in Sochi was also a factor as some critics wondered if Ladd's skating would hold him back on the international size surface.

The NHL and NHLPA are working to finalize an agreement on the World Cup and an announcement could be made as early as all-star weekend. What's already known is the tournament will be played in Toronto, making arguments about the big ice moot. This will be NHL-style hockey played in an NHL building and Ladd, should his high level of play continue, will have to be considered.

Ladd will be a long shot to make Team Canada but he'll have to be in the conversation.

Look for Jets players Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba to be in the mix for Team USA, Toby Enstrom will get attention from Sweden and Michael Frolik will once again skate for the Czech Republic.

 

Richards rumours

SO the Los Angeles Kings want to get rid of Mike Richards and his contract. Reports broke last week suggesting the Kings had contacted both the Winnipeg Jets and the Toronto Maple Leafs to gauge interest in a trade involving Richards.

Richards has five goals and nine assists and has seen his ice time dwindle this season.

Would he be an upgrade to Winnipeg's bottom-six forwards? Yes. But with a cap hit of $5.75 million and cash cost of $7.6 million, his contract is unwieldy. Richards has four more years after this season on his current pact and while the case slides the cap hit stays the same.

Even if the Kings were to take back the maximum 50 per cent of his contract, both cap and cash, he's likely too expensive an addition for the Jets. Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is currently working on getting a deal done to keep Michael Frolik and he'll also have to consider signing Byfuglien and Ladd to extensions this summer.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless