Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin scratches his head as he speaks to the media.
Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — Canucks captain Henrik Sedin conceded Thursday he expects changes to the team after a second straight quick playoff ouster. But what kind of changes? A new coach? Some new core players?
Henrik proved he can stickhandle through an exit media scrum as well he stickhandles through an opponent's zone coverage.
“I think if things aren't going well for a few years or a few seasons, there are going to be changes,” said the captain, standing in a hallway at Rogers Arena. “I don't know what you mean by big changes but there are going to be some, I'm sure, whatever that is. I know our owners and our management aren't happy being an average team. It's not up to me to make those changes so I can't tell you what they want to do. We'll see what happens.”
The most likely change will be behind the bench where head coach Alain Vigneault is on extremely thin ice after the Canucks went 1-10 in their last 11 playoff games. Included in that total are six consecutive playoff losses at home. Vigneault has been the coach for seven years.
During his tenure, Henrik has won a scoring title and a Hart Trophy while brother Daniel has also captured a scoring title as well as the Ted Lindsay Award. The team itself has collected two Presidents Trophies, six Northwest Division titles and reached one Stanley Cup Final.
“AV has been nothing but great for this team,” Henrik continued. “So if they want to go in a different direction, that's up to them. I think our core players have really grown up here and have become better as the years went on. AV has helped us grow as players and, I think, as leaders as well. So I have nothing but good things to say. He's had our attention from Day One until the last game. That's never been a problem. He's been nothing but good to us
“But, again, it's up to those guys. The only thing we can do is prepare this summer to come back next year and then we'll see what happens.”
Henrik remains convinced the Canucks aren't that far away. He likes the goaltending and the defence and feels the building blocks are still in place.
“If you look at our lineup, with the great goalies and our defence corps, which I've said for the past 3-4 years, I think is one of the best in the league, that's the way you should be built as a playoff team,” he pointed out. “We've pretty much all been there before so experience shouldn't be a problem but, again, we made mistakes this year that we shouldn't have made. And that was disappointing. In the playoffs, you need to do certain things to win and we didn't do those. But I think we're close.”
He blamed most of the scoring woes on a once potent power play that began to dry up in the latter half of 2011-12 and remained dry for most of the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. He noted that injuries to Daniel (late last season) and Ryan Kesler (most of this season and parts of last) didn't help matters.
“I think one of the main things is that our power play hasn't very good, that's the main thing,” he said. “We've had a few injuries to key guys that you need on your power play. If that percentage goes up to where it should be, I think those are the goals we're missing. That's been the problem this year and it was last year as well.”
Both Daniel and Henrik are entering the final years of their identical five-year contracts and will be in position to negotiate extensions this summer. Henrik insisted they are not looking beyond next season. The twins will be 33 when the 2013-14 campaign begins and their points-per-game production has been in decline since 2010-11.
“We’re looking forward to next year, that’s our only concern,” said Henrik. “If we can come back being better players and keep getting better … I mean, we’re not feeling old. We’re 32 years old. We're going to turn 33 next year. If you look at San Jose's top guys, they're older than us. So for us, age is not a problem.
“But again, we can’t do anything about where people want us. If they don’t want us here, we can’t do anything about it. Of course, I mean, we’ve been here a long time so this is where we want to play. If it comes down to us, we would like to be here. We haven’t talked about a contract extension yet. It’s only been a day or two after the last game. So I’m sure it’s going to come up and we’ll go from there.”
Henrik, Daniel and defenceman Alex Edler still have some hockey left in them and will leave Friday to join the Swedish national team at the world championships in Stockholm. He claimed he was prepared to play in June so, this way, he will at least play until mid-May and perhaps a bit beyond.
“It should be fun,” Henrik said. “I think this year we were really looking forward to playing into June. When things didn't work out the way we wanted to, we got a chance to go play for our country and that felt like the right decision. To play for your country in your home rink before family and friends, that certainly helps.”
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun