Can the Sedins keep it going for years to come? Maybe — and that poses a challenge for GM Mike Gillis
What if what J.P. Barry is trying to feed Vancouver GM Mike Gillis in the Sedin contract negotiations should turn out to be true?
Imagine if they really could continue at approximately this rate for the next five years and go on defying Father Time as though they were Daniel Alfredsson, Teemu Selanne or Pavel Datsyuk. Imagine what that might do for this franchise. Or if you’re not a fan of the twins, imagine what it might do to this franchise.
Let’s take the positive first. If such a thing were possible it would give this team time to retool and bring in the likes of Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce, Frank Corrado and others still yet undrafted without taking a significant step backwards. You know, something like what the San Jose Sharks seem to be pulling off right before our eyes.
It’s certainly a nice thought if you happen to be in ownership, given that the one thing that could dry up the cash cow that is the Canucks would be to have this team take significant gas for three or four years.
And that certainly seems possible if the Sedins were to depart at the end of the season or begin to slide significantly immediately upon signing any such new deal, no matter how long.
Now there would be others who might look at the Sedins’ up-and-down performances in the playoffs and conclude the team would have a greater chance of winning if it were to bite the bullet and say goodbye, suffer through the tougher seasons to get better drafts, and retool that way. But none of those people are likely to have the same concerns as ownership.
So what are the possibilities of this being the case? What if they just keep doing what they’re doing for longer than anyone expected? They’re both certainly off to excellent starts, which is a good sign, and there’s no question that they keep themselves in superb condition at all times — the Canucks having their test results year after year to verify it.
Well, Alfredsson for one thinks we might see a few more people like him and Selanne, and said he thinks the twins have an excellent chance of pulling off something similar.
“I think ... what happened in ’05 after the lockout, when they took away the hooking and holding and clutching and grabbing, which took a great toll on the hamstrings and took so much out of the groins and hip flexors and stuff, has helped.
“If the same rules were in play there’s no way I’d be playing now, there’s no question. Today’s game allows you to use speed to get body position and you can play a lot longer with the new rules. If you can stay away from major injuries, you can play until you’re 40.
“I think when you are, from my perspective, looking at them, they prepare themselves, and as you get older if you’ve built a strong base when you were younger you can live off that, you don’t have to work harder in the summer, you just have to work smarter and be smarter about practice during the season and maintaining energy. So I can see them playing a long time as well.
“There’s a lot of other factors that’s got to fall in place, obviously, motivation mentally that you have the drive to do it again.
“As you get older, of course, you have family and other priorities that become maybe more important at times. You have to find a mix where you feel the drive is there and you push yourself.
“You can’t just say, ‘I’ll play because I want to play.’ If you don’t put an effort into it, it’s not going to be fun and then you won’t be happy.”
Those are the real questions the Sedins should be honestly asking themselves before signing any long-term deal. They need to search their own hearts in this as well.
But at least the quality of the person is clear: These are the guys who, after every home game, go up to the suite they’ve paid for to visit and meet people who wouldn’t ordinarily get to games. Taking money they’re not earning is not something they’d likely be part of.
This one is a very tough call for Gillis, but at least he’s dealing with the right people.
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