The end is near for the Sedins, and it’s been an incredible ride

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Only two players have outpaced both Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to win an Art Ross when they’ve each scored 100 points. The first was Joe Thornton in 2005-06 when they were both rookies.

In fact, Croz and Ovi have shared the league for 12 seasons but have “only” scored 100 points simultaneously three times. During those seasons of health and elite point production, however, there was one man who stood above them all in the spring of 2010.

His name was Henrik.

During that season, Henrik scored an astounding 83 even strength points. Incredibly, he is the only player since 2005 to have scored over 80 even strength points in a season. They were still tantalizing on the power play, but the way that Henrik, Daniel, and the Canucks team as a whole were creating goals was fantastic to watch.

Henrik would have the puck on the left wing. Saucer pass 8 feet in the air almost straight across the ice. Daniel approaches, lets it bounce off the boards, and scoops up the puck with his rear facing the center, protecting the puck.

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A teammate joins the rush, Daniel finds him easily.

Inevitably, the puck locates either Henrik or Daniel once more and again they make an incredible pass. Just about every time they pass the puck, it’s perfect – the weight, the angle, everything.

Even when the Sedins weren’t creating goals, they were a complete thrill to watch. They’re one of the most unique duos the league has ever seen. Who else moved the puck the way they did? Who else could be so slow, yet so effective in today’s “new NHL”?

Anytime the puck came off the boards to them, they’d be positioned perfectly to shield it, and then get a forehand pass or shot off. It was a treat.

I am not a Canucks fan

Rather, I am a BC-born Thrashers/Jets fan who was surrounded by Canucks fans, including a father, a brother, a brother, a brother, a friend, a friend, a friend, a friend, and a friend. They were on the TV plenty.

I lived with two of those brothers for 750 days. We watched the Canucks a lot and it was swell.

Many people in the area are anti-Canucks and even anti-Sedin because everyone cheers for them. People like to antagonize the home team.

But for me, someone who had been watching the hopeless Thrashers and playoffless Jets flounder year after year? Watching the talent of the Sedins and Roberto Luongo is some of the best hockey I’ve ever seen. Considering I was watching them based purely on location, it wasn’t the worst hockey to get. What if I lived in Ohio? Would following the Thrashers while being force-fed the Columbus Blue Jackets have been any better? I doubt it.

They are without a doubt the best team I’ve ever watched regularly, and the Sedins in particular played the complete antagonist to my old favorite player, Mister Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk was reckless. He left the zone early and didn’t body check. But he scored incredible goals with speed, had one of the top wrist shots in the NHL, and a one-timer that overpowered goalies.

The Sedins, on the other hand, moved slowly. They preferred calculated, teamwork based play. They almost emulated soccer in a sense; pass, move. Pass, move. It was incredible to see how often they could control the puck along the wall. By contrast, any time the Thrashers used the boards they lost it with a weak forecheck. The Canucks as a whole dominated along the perimeter. It was a staple of their success.

The Sedins were able to build on 30 years of playing hockey together. And it showed, their cerebral understanding of offensive positioning was insane. When Hank threw down 83 even strength points it was a testament to just how much they were dominating. Being a point-per-game player without the power play is something that has never been done in the post-2005 lockout era.

It’s a shame the ‘Nucks couldn’t have won the Cup in 2011. It would’ve been a fantastic addition to an elite and unique duo that’s been inexplicably disrespected in certain situations. Many people do not like the Sedins.

From a hockey point of view, I don’t see what’s not to like. They’ve been incredible community leaders in Vancouver and ridiculously entertaining for hockey fans.

Sniper Sedin

I’ve been gushin’ a bit about Henrik, it’s time to give Daniel some love.

The best part about Daniel Sedin is that he was the goal scorer of the two. I love goal scorers. Over the span of his prime years from 2006-07 to 2011-12, Danny scored the 9th most goals with 196 in 462 games, a 35-goal per season rate. Of those nine players, Evgeni Malkin is the only other player to have over 300 assists while still sniping that many goals. Daniel scored goals at a near-elite rate consistently, and he happened to produce assists at an elite rate too – he sits 7th over the same span with 300 helpers.

In fact, the list of players to score at least 180 goals and 300 assists over that span is small and exceptional:

  1. Martin St. Louis
  2. Evgeni Malkin
  3. Sidney Crosby
  4. Daniel Sedin

There sits Danny with the elite goal-scoring/playmaking hybrids of the National Hockey League.

Daniel was capable of scoring either with a deflection, a wrist shot, or simply cleaning up a rebound. The fact the Sedins had a finisher in their duo was a huge reason they were so dangerous. It would have been a much larger task if they had to find a decent goal scorer every year. But nope – Danny had that covered.

He too would win the Art Ross the following season after his brother, boasting a preposterous 41 goals and 63 assists in 2011-2012. Every four games he averaged two goals and three assists. Absolutely saucy.

It should be noted that was the year Crosby got concussed when he was posting 32-32 in 41 games. So Daniel likely wouldn’t have won if Crosby stayed healthy. Of course, it doesn’t diminish the value of winning the Art Ross; The names on that trophy are elite, and elite only.

In my opinion, the Sedins earned their location on that Trophy. With Crosby and Ovechkin. With Benn and Thornton. With Patty Kane and Peter Forsberg.

They’ve produced some of the most entertaining hockey I’ve ever seen. Whenever the Sedins hang up the skates, they’ll at least have accomplished what no players have done in the last decade: lead a hockey crazed Canadian market to the Stanley Cup Finals. More importantly, they’ll leave as consummate professionals and community leaders in Vancouver and the surrounding area.

A long standing legacy well be left for Canuck fans: One of the most unique and entertaining duos the league has ever seen.

See also:

The Canucks rebuild is lookin’ pretty saucy (September 2017)

Maybe the Canucks have more of a plan than we think (March 2017)

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