There are already a handful of Hockey Hall of Famers that had the Sharks’ number during their illustrious careers.
Ed Belfour followed up a forgettable teal tenure with two playoff series wins in two tries against San Jose, while Nicklas Lidstrom was classily dominant. Mike Modano scored his milestone 500th goal at what is now SAP Center, and Chris Pronger was loudly booed in every visit to San Jose.
None compare to Teemu Selanne, who joined them with his induction into the Hall of Fame on Monday night.
He mentioned the Sharks in his speech for all of 13 seconds, mentioning that he “had a chance to play with great players: Patrick Marleau, Owen Nolan, and many others.”
It was a forgettable, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment on an otherwise unforgettable night, and thus a neat encapsulation of his two-plus years in San Jose.
Somehow, his Sharks stint was even more infamous than Belfour’s. He was traded to San Jose for fan favorite Jeff Friesen in 2001, and was productive: 64 goals in 176 games are nothing to sneeze at.
Selanne cemented himself as a goat, rather than the G.O.A.T, with his lack of production in the postseason. 10 points in 18 playoff games wasn’t enough to get San Jose out of the second round.
His wraparound miss in a game 7 loss to Colorado in 2002 is etched into the memories of Sharks fans, as one of many missed opportunities for a franchise so often defined by misfortune.
Pronger likely would empathize with how frequently boo-birds flew upon Selanne’s subsequent returns to San Jose. Selanne was an all-time great that wasn’t especially great when he played for the Sharks, and the SAP Center crowd reacted accordingly.
It didn’t help that he was great against the Sharks.
No player in NHL history has scored more goals or points against the Sharks than the Finnish Flash. His 99 points are 24 clear of the next closest player, fellow Hall of Famer Joe Sakic.
Only 27 of those points came after he left San Jose, but he added two more in the Ducks’ first round upset over the President’s Trophy-winning Sharks in 2009. Seeing Selanne skate with the Stanley Cup over his head in an Anaheim jersey only added insult to injury.
So Selanne not only stands above most of his peers in the Hall of Fame, but the rest of them as well, as the ultimate Sharks villain. Not because of anything he did after the whistle or said off of the ice, of course.
No, Selanne earned that status because of the points he scored against the Sharks, and the ones he didn’t for them.