Vancouver Canucks: The Sedins are truly one of kind and irreplaceable

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 28: Henrik Sedin
VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 28: Henrik Sedin /
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With the Sedins’ hockey careers coming to an end, I wanted to look back on what they accomplished on the ice. This legendary duo means everything to me as a Canucks fan and I don’t think anyone will match what they did during their careers here.

It truly is a sad week for Vancouver Canucks fans. Despite showing that they can still be effective players in the NHL, Henrik and Daniel Sedin have chosen to hang up the skates at the end of the season. Honestly, we had to expect this eventually, but nothing was going to prepare me for when it happened.

The Twins are the greatest players in franchise history. Taking advantage of the salary cap era that broke away from the clutch and grab play that was grinding the NHL to a standstill. A combination of innovative coaching, management and rule changes allowed the Sedins to maximize their potential and dominate the NHL.

That stretch from 2005-2012 was nothing short of remarkable. Henrik and Daniel were not the fastest skaters or had the hardest shots. They did not fit the traditional Don Cherry mould. In fact, the Twins battled through scrutiny and criticism from around the league and within their own fanbase and media.

Looking back on their careers, I am so glad they proved everyone of those people wrong. And even though they could not lift the Stanley Cup in 2011, what they did on the ice will not be done again anytime soon.

Let’s reflect on a pair of remarkable careers and really appreciate how fortunate we were to watch these two play in our city.

Over 1,000 points each with a single team

As of today, there are 87 players in NHL history to break the 1,000-point barrier. The Sedins join fellow countrymen, Nicklas Lidstrom, Daniel Alfredsson, and Mats Sundin with the honour. Just think about that. Few men have achieved this in the 100 years of the NHL. The feat is even more incredible for the country of Sweden, further inspiring generation after generation of future hockey players.

From that elite list, only 40 of them broke 1,000 points with a single team. The Sedins had to play through an era, suffocated by defensive systems and trap play. They did not have the benefit of the high scoring, poor goaltending and Wild West-like atmosphere of the 1980’s.

While goaltending continued to improve, the Twins always found a way during their height. It is no small feat to lead the NHL in scoring, yet each Sedin has done that, in back to back seasons to boot.

On top it all, Henrik and Daniel made history in an era where the salary cap made it difficult for competitive teams to stay together for long. As they retire with the team that drafted them, the twins join the 100 players in NHL history to spend their entire career with a single team. Sportsnet also had this incredible stat as well.

The greatest brother duo in history

There is no contest. With a combined total of 2,107 points (as of writing this), the Sedins are the NHL’s best pair of brothers. Don’t you dare come at with Brent Gretzky and his four career points. It’s a travesty that one of the most insignificant players in league history is only talked about to prop up Wayne Gretzky on another list.

Therefore, the Gretzkys don’t count. Wayne has almost every other record in this league. I’m sure he won’t mind being left off one. Furthermore, Henrik and Daniel are the only brothers to both reach 1000 points. The closest pair of brothers to do it were Henri and Maurice Richard. Henri finished his career with 1,046 points, but The Rocket fell short by 34 points.

The Sedins are a unique pair of brothers and I think this is one accomplishment that could potentially stand the test of time. There is nothing more fitting for them to remain at the top. Hockey families come and go, but I do believe that the Sedins will be remembered for this when the NHL celebrates its next 100 years.

The most widely-known duo in NHL history is Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri. The pair were in on the same goal 764 times. That is the most in NHL history. Who is in second place? Henrik and Daniel, with 743 times and counting. They won’t catch up to that mark between now and Sunday, but it is nothing short of astounding.

Holding multiple franchise records*

Henrik and Daniel will be the third and fourth Canucks in franchise history to spend their entire careers with the club. Dennis Kearns (10 seasons) and Stan Smyl (12 seasons) were first and second, respectively. However, the Sedins played far longer, with 17 seasons each during their amazing careers.

Let’s start with all the categories dominated by Daniel Sedin. He holds the franchise record for total goals (391), even strength goals (254), power play goals (127) and game-winning goals (85). His 3457 shots lead the franchise by a country mile, with second place at 2613.

As for the captain, we know how durable he has been over the course of his career. Due to that, Henrik has appeared in 1327 games to lead the franchise. He has the most assists at 828, which is good for the 26th most in NHL history. The captain also has the most points in franchise history with 1068.

*Franchise records from hockey-reference.com

The impact and legacy they leave behind

I have not been a Canucks fan for as long as some people. My time spent as a fan lines up perfectly with the Sedins’ NHL careers. 18 years does not seem like a lot to a franchise that turns 50 very soon. I have no emotional ties to the Flying Skate era; my introduction to hockey was the West Coast Express. But something hidden behind that famous line in Vancouver caught my attention.

What intrigued me the most were the twin brothers that Brian Burke managed to draft after a series of remarkable trades. Five-year old me knew brothers played in the NHL, but it was rare to see them play for the same team, let alone spend their whole careers with that single team.

More from The Canuck Way

Henrik and Daniel weren’t just good, they were revolutionary. Something as simple as the cycle, which was originally meant for mediocre bottom six forwards was utilized as one of the deadliest offensive weapons in the NHL. Skilled players did not traditionally cycle the puck; they used their speed and physicality to generate goals.

However, the Sedins played a cerebral game. Look up any variation of “The Shift” on YouTube. The Twins were playing 4-dimensional chess while their poor opponents were just figuring out checkers. Additionally, the slap pass on the power play has become standard practice for modern units. Don’t forget about Henrik’s incredible passing ability, especially through goaltenders.

How about using the end boards to beat out an icing call and score on the opportunity? This became more difficult when Hybrid Icing was introduced, but that level of creativity was yet to be seen. I said earlier that they weren’t the fastest skaters, but they had no trouble scoring goals off the rush.

The Sedins were the best players in the NHL from the start of the Salary Cap Era to their eventual run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Henrik and Daniel accomplished so much, collecting trophies for leading the league in scoring, community service and standing out among their peers. They dazzled during skill competitions and All-Star appearances and fully embraced Vancouver as their home.

Because of how portions of our fanbase and media treated them, we never deserved them. Henrik and Daniel were far too good for us, but I feel honoured to have the privilege to watch them play incredible hockey. That amount of toughness, leadership and professionalism made them special. Most of all, it made them role models.

I am so glad that I was there when Henrik Sedin scored his 1000th point. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the trip to Nashville, but Daniel’s 1000th point was just as special. A true testament to their accomplishments.

Honestly, Rogers Arena during the 2011 and 2012 playoffs will be something I never forget. It breaks my heart that they never got to lift the Stanley Cup. In my opinion, no one, and I mean no one deserves a Cup more than those two. They embodied what it meant to be a hockey player, immune to the garbage from awful people of worse character.

Next: Henrik and Daniel and what makes a good man

Finally, we will transition to an era without these incredible figures on the ice at Rogers Arena. It won’t be the same; even with the army of young players integrated over time. There are no other players I will miss more than those two. A simple thank you is not nearly enough to appreciate what they have done. However, it is all I have. So, Daniel, Henrik. Thank you for 18 glorious years of hockey.