Iain MacIntyre: Canucks' Sedins still matter

 

 
 
 
 
Daniel Sedin #22 (L) and Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks confer during a stoppage in play against the Calgary Flames in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary.
 

Daniel Sedin #22 (L) and Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks confer during a stoppage in play against the Calgary Flames in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER - Even when it wasn’t their fault in previous Stanley Cup tournaments, it was always their fault. OK, sometimes it was Roberto Luongo’s fault, too. But no matter what the Sedins did — and despite the constant criticism of them, their playoff scoring totals were actually pretty good between 2009 through 2013 — they were always the default culprits when the Canucks failed.

After the first-round loss to the Calgary Flames, it can be argued the Canucks aren’t good enough to win in the playoffs with the twins. But no one should say the team loses because of them.

Even their most shrill and bigoted critics could see that the Sedins dominated their shifts and were among the handful of Canucks players who “showed up” and matched the Flames’ drive and hunger. Yes, the Sedins needed to produce more than three goals and eight points in six games (and 37 shots) for the Canucks to win, and maybe they would have had they been paired with the team’s one pure finisher, Radim Vrbata.

But in that black hole in the forward lines that existed behind the Sedins, we could at least see what the Canucks might look like without Danny and Hank: somewhere between poor and abysmal.

In time, and maybe a relatively short time, forwards like Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, Hunter Shinkaruk and Cole Cassels could make a loss or significant diminishment of the Sedins bearable.

But for now, the Swedish brothers still matter. They were the Canucks’ best players this season at age 34. Here’s betting they’re the best ones again next next year, and if they’re not Vancouver may not get back into the playoffs as general manager Jim Benning’s roster transition continues.

“We have no plans of getting any worse,” Hank Sedin said Monday in his exit press conference. “We’re not young anymore, but I think we showed this year that we can still be a big part, we can still be productive, we can play well. I don’t see that changing in the next couple of years.”

Daniel said: “We’re not getting younger, but I think we can still play. I think we showed that this year.

“Speaking for myself, this is the best I felt. We’ve been fresh, we’ve been healthy and we made the playoffs. As a team, that was our goal before the season started — to make the playoffs and once you’re in, I think you have a chance to win it all. That’s how tight it is.”

A year ago, after 55- and 47-points seasons for Henrik and Daniel, skeptics believed the brothers were finished as impact players. Some were aghast the Canucks signed them early in the year to four-year contract extensions worth $28 million US apiece.

But the Sedins had not only massive bounce-back seasons from the John Tortorella disaster, they had arguably the most complete campaigns of their careers.

Don’t scoff. Although their point totals were far below their triple-digit seasons when the Sedins were winning NHL scoring titles, they finished among the top-15 scorers in the league. And in the context of an 87-point Art Ross Trophy winner, the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn, Daniel’s 76 points and Henrik’s 73 represented elite offensive production.

The Sedins outscored, among others, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews and Henrik Zetterberg.

They did so while playing slightly less at even strength and more often in their own zone under new coach Willie Desjardins.

“We don’t want a lesser role,” Henrik said. “I think this year we had a big role. We played a lot of PK, which was great. Power play was the same. Five-on-five was maybe a little bit less than in the past. A lot of time we’ve been in our ends taking faceoffs. I think that’s been great. I talked before about wanting to be more complete players and showing we can do that, and I think we have.

“Us, we’re going to come back every year and we want to have a big role. We want to be good players; we know we can be good players. And if we are, they’re going to use you.”

During the lockout 2½ years ago, Henrik said he and his brother were eager to mentor younger players, stick with the Canucks through any upcoming transition and accept smaller roles when the time came. So far that time hasn’t arrived, although the younger players are starting to.

“We want to be counted on to be the top players on the team,” Daniel said Monday. “But I think us taking less ice time means that the younger guys have come in and played really well. If they do that, and that means us playing less and us winning, that’s fine.”

Henrik said: “You could tell this year what the younger guys meant to this team and the excitement they bring in. I think you can bring up those guys and still have the expectation of getting 101 points. I don’t see that drop-off — if they’re good enough to play. It’s the first time since we came in that I felt excitement with young guys and the prospects.

“Getting younger doesn’t mean you’re not going to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. That’s the furthest from the truth. You look around and the teams that won it, they bring up young guys and the young guys make a difference. If they can push and they can make a difference, and they bring the excitement and everything, they’re going to give us a chance. I’m fully confident in the next couple of years, when we’re here, we’re going to have shots to go all the way.”

The Sedins haven’t lost any of their optimism, either.

imacintyre@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/imacvansun

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Daniel Sedin #22 (L) and Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks confer during a stoppage in play against the Calgary Flames in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary.
 

Daniel Sedin #22 (L) and Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks confer during a stoppage in play against the Calgary Flames in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice