Sedins turn back the clock, put the Canucks on their backs

 

 
 
 
 
The Vancouver Canucks, including Daniel Sedin, left, and and Henrik Sedin, right, celebrate Markus Granlund's second goal against the San Jose Sharks during Friday's game at Rogers Arena.
 
 

The Vancouver Canucks, including Daniel Sedin, left, and and Henrik Sedin, right, celebrate Markus Granlund's second goal against the San Jose Sharks during Friday's game at Rogers Arena.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

For the Sedins, things are different.

They’re 37 years old. How can they not be?

When they play a lot, there’s pain to manage which wasn’t there five years ago.

But there’s something else. There have been games where they’ve hardly played at all.

The low point was a 4-2 win against Pittsburgh on Nov. 4. Henrik Sedin didn’t even see nine minutes of ice.

“When you don’t play as much, you have to do other things,” Henrik said. “It’s been the first time in 15 years we had to have bike rides after games just to get something out of the night.

“It happened a few nights this year.”

On that particular night, during that particular bike ride, Henrik had three points. For the season.

What did you think about the Sedins then?

It wasn’t exactly how the brothers had visualized the final year of their contracts, maybe the last year of their careers.

This season was to be about redemption. It was about avenging last season’s letdown, and proving they could still play on the same ice as the top players in the world.

The Canucks, however, had other plans. The budding Next One, Bo Horvat, was taking over as the top centre. A coach’s favourite, Brandon Sutter, was taking over as the shutdown centre.

And there just wasn’t much room in his mix for the Sedins to show they could still be the Sedins.

“I really liked the way they handled it and handled themselves,” Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green said. “I wasn’t surprised. They had nights where they were playing 13 or 14 minutes. They also had nights where they played nine and 11.

“I talked to them after those games and (told them) those weren’t enough minutes for them to be productive.

“It is funny how a few extra minutes can help certain players.”

Yes, those extra minutes helped Henrik to three assists Friday, matching his entire haul for the first month of the season.

For several weeks now, the Sedins have been point-a-game players, near the top in the NHL in production.

Part of this revitalization story has been a power play which has blown minds since Brock Boeser joined the Sedins, and was positioned in what is now referred to in Vancouver as “The Spot.”

Since the move on Nov. 14, the Canucks have the best power play in the NHL. Henrik had no power-play points before it. He’s had seven since.

But it isn’t just power-play success. In the sixteen games since mid-November, Henrik has 17 points.

He’s been great, and on nights like Friday, a 4-3 win, he’s been beyond great.

You may ask yourself where was this in October? But to the Sedins, it’s felt like it was there all along, just beneath the surface.

Like a plant needs water, they just needed some confidence and playing time.

“I felt from Day 1 that it’s been a while since I had this kind of jump in my skating,” Henrik said. “It felt good from Day 1.

“If we felt like we did last year or the year before, maybe more ice time wouldn’t have made a difference.

“But we worked hard all summer and felt really good in camp. I felt like from Day 1, if we got more ice time, we would produce more.”

So far, he’s been right.

Just imagine, then, being Henrik and knowing that this is the best he’s felt in a few seasons but also being unable to show anyone because the ice time wasn’t there.

And then think about Henrik answering all of those questions on all of those days about what’s it like to be marginalized, playing 10-12 minutes a night?

“There was no frustration,” Henrik said. “We just felt we needed to be ready when we got our chances.

“It was never hard to answer questions. But the media and fans had asked for this (the Sedins stepping back in their roles) for a long time.

“And when it happened, they were still asking questions about it. For me, it wasn’t a big deal.

“But there were a lot of people outside the room talking about it.

“We knew there may be injuries and our time might come.”

It’s definitely the Sedins time right now. They played nearly half of Friday’s overtime and they looked spectacular doing it.

For as long as Horvat as out, this is their team again. The Canucks will go as far as the Sedins take them.

The first post-Horvat injury step in the right direction was Friday’s win. The Sedins carried the Canucks like it was six years ago.

They desperately needed hope after a string of losses, which accompanied a string of injuries.

It’s still not a lot, but right now these Canucks do have some hope.

jbotchford@postmedia.com

twitter.com/botchford

 

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Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks

Sunday, 5 p.m. PT

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The Vancouver Canucks, including Daniel Sedin, left, and and Henrik Sedin, right, celebrate Markus Granlund's second goal against the San Jose Sharks during Friday's game at Rogers Arena.
 

The Vancouver Canucks, including Daniel Sedin, left, and and Henrik Sedin, right, celebrate Markus Granlund's second goal against the San Jose Sharks during Friday's game at Rogers Arena.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

 
The Vancouver Canucks, including Daniel Sedin, left, and and Henrik Sedin, right, celebrate Markus Granlund's second goal against the San Jose Sharks during Friday's game at Rogers Arena.
The bench is where Henrik Sedin, left, and Daniel Sedin have found themselves stapled to in several games this season.
Daniel Sedin and his brother have begun to cede their roles as the team leaders to the Canucks' future: Bo Horvat.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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