Henrik: ‘I don’t think it’s time to panic’


Canucks captain says the team doesn’t need a complete overhaul, just a few key additions to the roster

The fans always give a welcome greeting to Henrik Sedin at Rogers Arena.

The fans always give a welcome greeting to Henrik Sedin at Rogers Arena.

Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, NHLI via Getty Images

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Henrik Sedin started out after Wednesday’s practice talking about how his injured knee is feeling better and he’s hopeful to get back in the lineup somewhere in the Canucks’ final five games, but, no, he didn’t want to talk about next year with the team still not officially eliminated from the playoffs.

But, then, after some wheedling from reporters, he did.

The Canucks captain vowed that he and his twin brother Daniel will rebound from a huge drop-off in points production this season and get back to the roughly point-a-game pace they’ve enjoyed the previous seven seasons.

Sedin also said he believes the team does not need a complete rebuild to return to its previous level of success ­— just the right strategic moves — and acknowledged it may mean trading a veteran player to accomplish that.

Finally, he backed embattled coach John Tortorella and his system, which includes more defensive responsibility for him and his brother, along with more ice-time.

Henrik, who’s been sidelined by hand, rib and knee injuries, the first two of which he tried to play through, has 46 points (10-36) in 65 games. Daniel, who missed nine games with a hamstring injury last month, has 43 points (14-29) in 68 games. The Sedins’ offensive struggles is one factor in the Canucks’ power play dropping to a dismal 27th overall this season. This is particularly concerning when the brothers will next season begin four-year deals that pay them $7 million annually.

Henrik believes strongly he and Daniel can and will regain their previous form.

“We know we can produce way more than we have this year,” he said. “We’re back to the production we had when we were playing 12-13 minutes a game. That’s not where we are as players. We’re going to finish this season off, we’ll see where it takes us and we’re going to come back as better players.”

Henrik wouldn’t elaborate, but he hinted there extenuating circumstances in their offensive shortfall.

“I think there’s reasons why we haven’t put up the points that maybe we should,” he said. “It’s tough when you know you should have put up more, and maybe this is why we are where we are. But there’s things you can change. I want to think we are guys who prepare well for the season and when you see guys (performance) drop off — they’re not going to drop off at 33 or 34. We’re still feeling strong out there.”

Henrik and Daniel turn 34 next September, so the timeframe of a radical rebuild wouldn’t work for them. But Henrik argues the team doesn’t need that.

“Sure there’ going to be things that happen in the summer,” he said. “That’s what happens when you lose. If you do the right things — even if you trade away a veteran player, if you get the right pieces back, that’s about getting better, short and long-term.”

Of course, that puts the onus on the GM to make the right moves, which, based on a soft free-agent market, means hitting a home run with the trade of a core player such as Ryan Kesler or Alex Edler.

“I know, all the way from the top, they want a winner,” Henrik said. “I don’t think it’s time to panic. I still think, yes, you might want to get younger in certain spots and make some changes, but I think we can be successful next year. It’s not about three, four, five years down the road. It’s next year, and that starts with us. You can be successful with your top guys around 45-50 points, but it’s not easy. We’re not a team that can do it without more scoring, and that falls on us.”

Tortorella has been criticized for overplaying his core players and giving the Sedins fewer offensive zone starts than his predecessor, Alain Vigneault. But Henrik would have none of it.

“No, I don’t’ think so,” said Henrik. “Up to a few games after Christmas, we were right there — close to a point a game. He gives us enough days off to feel rested for the games. We felt good. We were a little down over Christmas where we didn’t feel great, but after that I felt great for a few weeks. I might answer this after the season, but there’s reasons why we are where we are. It’s not on the coach or anyone around us.”



The fans always give a welcome greeting to Henrik Sedin at Rogers Arena.

The fans always give a welcome greeting to Henrik Sedin at Rogers Arena.

Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, NHLI via Getty Images

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