Oh brother, Canucks' Daniel Sedin has bounced back in a big way (with video)

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks' Jacob Markstrom (35) makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes' Shane Doan as Canucks' Henrik Sedin (33) defends during an NHL  game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Jacob Markstrom (35) makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes' Shane Doan as Canucks' Henrik Sedin (33) defends during an NHL game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photograph by: Ross D. Franklin, AP

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VANCOUVER - Henrik Sedin can play the part of the mischievous sibling as well as he can pass the puck.

The Vancouver Canuck captain was queried Wednesday about brother Daniel’s bounce back year, which is going even better than Henrik’s.

Daniel put up just 47 points last season – his worst total in a non-lockout year since 2002-03 – but has already collected 66 in 2014-15. He was eight points out of the league lead prior to Wednesday’s action and his 50 assists were tied for third best with Sidney Crosby. He was also on a five-game points streak.

Daniel may not be Superman again but at least he has the cape.

“I thought he was done,” Henrik quipped. “So I’m really pleased where he is.”

Although Henrik was having a little fun, there were many wondering if Daniel was indeed done, or perhaps partially cooked as an offensive force in the NHL. Henrik, too, was coming off a lousy 50-point season – he’s at 65 now – but Daniel looked even worse. During one dismal stretch, he went 23 games without a goal and 13 without a point.

At age 34, Daniel didn’t figure to get any faster either. Who knew?

“Over a long career, it’s going to go up and down, right?" Daniel said Wednesday as the second-place Canucks prepped for Thursday night's visit from the Colorado Avalanche. “I think last year things went really well for the first 40-50 games and then it really slipped. I don’t really have an explanation for that.

“I think, as a team, we didn’t win a lot of games and personally, guys didn’t play as well as they would have liked. So it’s tough to say. That’s the way it goes.”

Ice time and systems under ex-coach John Tortorella are two plausible explanations. Daniel averaged 20:36 under Torts, this year it’s 18:28 with Willie Desjardins. Daniel appeared worn out in the season’s second half and then suffered a hamstring injury during the March 2 Heritage Classic at B.C. Place Stadium.

This season, he hasn’t missed a practice, let alone a game. Ever the diplomat, he refused to point a finger at Tortorella for mis-managing the Canuck bench.

“I don’t know if it’s the lower ice time but I feel fresh for sure,” Daniel said. “I think it’s an easy thing for people to say that they’re tired and they’re not producing because they played too much. You look for the easy answer. I think the main thing is we have everyone involved and we’re winning games and everyone feels important.”

Daniel also felt it was important to dismiss the criticism. The twins were beginning new contracts calling for $7 million each for the next four seasons and pundits following the team, and the league, were wondering if they had anything left.

“I think that’s the way it goes in a Canadian market,” responded Daniel. “People are going to say that, and they’re going to over-analyze and do all that. I think as a team, and as an individual, you have to kind of stay away from all those comments and all those things being said. You just have to go home and work hard and come back and trust yourself that you can play. I think that’s the main thing – just trust that we could come back and be good.”

Perhaps the only mystery left is whether they have changed identities to fool us. Henrik, always the playmaker, has more goals than Daniel (17-to-16). And Daniel, always the goal scorer, has more assists than Henrik (50-to-48). This is not normal for them and there is mock outrage.

“I’ve got more goals so we’re both a little angry,” winked Henrik.

Meanwhile, centre Brad Richardson, who has missed 28 of the last 30 games with a troublesome ankle, admitted Wednesday he did suffer a setback in the March 17 win over Philadelphia. That was just his second game back after being sidelined for 24.

He practiced with the full team on Wednesday but isn’t ready to face the Avalanche.

“I thought I was going to be good for the rest of the year and then a little incident happened,” Richardson explained. “I got tangled up weird. I played through it the rest of the game but once you get your skate off, the next day you can’t even really walk. So that’s the story. You’re not back to square one, but it’s a setback and you have to sit again. It sucks. This is obviously the best time of year to be playing hockey.”

ICE CHIPS: Wingers Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen both missed Wednesday’s practice but are expected to play against Colorado… Extra defenceman Adam Clendening was dispatched to the AHL’s Utica Comets after being a healthy scratch for eight straight games. He had two assists in 17 appearances after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawk organization.

NEXT UP: Avalanche at Canucks

RECENT RUN

The Canucks have won three straight, five of six and seven of nine as they continue their push for a playoff spot. They are 8-3-0 in their last 11 at home. The Avalanche, who were the surprise darlings of the West last season with 112 points, have come back to earth and were sitting last in the Central Division, 10 points out of a playoff spot prior to their Wednesday night game in Edmonton.

WHO’S HOT?

The Canuck power play is 3-for-6 in the last three games… RW Radim Vrbata has seven points in his last three (3-4-7)… D Yannick Weber has four points in his last three (2-2-4)… D Alex Edler has five points in his last five (2-3-5)… G Eddie Lack has won four of his last five starts… Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly had six points (3-3-6) in his last four prior to Wednesday night.

WHO’S NOT?

RW Jannik Hansen has no points in five games… C Linden Vey has no points in eight games… LW Ronalds Kenins has one assist in eight games… D Dan Hamhuis has no points in seven games and no goals in 51 games… Avalanche forward Daniel Briere had no goals in 21 games heading into Wednesday night’s action… LW Cody McLeod had one goal in 15 games prior to Wednesday.

LOOKING GOOD

The Canucks will sport 1915 Vancouver Millionaire replica uniforms when they face the Avalanche. It’s a salute to the 100th anniversary of the Millionaires’ Stanley Cup win. Canuck coach Willie Desjardins has no problem with the maroon jerseys and cream-coloured pants. Said the coach: “I think whenever you win a Cup, that makes a good fashion statement. It’s a great feat to have accomplished and I think it’s certainly worthy of remembering and honouring.”

QUOTABLE

“No matter what team you are and where you are in the league, everyone has pride. They’re probably not having the season they wanted to have but they’re going to come in here and play hard. They have speed. It’s going to be a tough game.” – Canuck winger Derek Dorsett on the first-to-worst Avalanche, who have been missing key players Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon, among others, due to injury.

epap@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks' Jacob Markstrom (35) makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes' Shane Doan as Canucks' Henrik Sedin (33) defends during an NHL  game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Jacob Markstrom (35) makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes' Shane Doan as Canucks' Henrik Sedin (33) defends during an NHL game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photograph by: Ross D. Franklin, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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