This weekly feature will break down the best play from the Canucks past week. The play of the week (POTW) may be the prettiest or most skilled moment, or it may be a moment that was particularly significant for a variety of reasons. Feel free to send me your suggestions for POTWs via email or Twitter.
Game: Dallas Stars at Canucks
Date: February 15, 2013
This goal makes the list because it is a nice bit of passing from the Sedins and a good finish by Burrows. Okay, okay, I'm not fooling anyone. Unless you've been holed up in a mountain bunker waiting for the impending zombie apocalypse, as a Canucks fan you are aware that Henrik Sedin this week became the team's all-time leading scorer when he set up Burrows for a beautiful goal against the Stars. While for obvious reasons this goal has been widely discussed and well covered, including here and here on this blog, is there any way I could pick a different POTW than this play?
Usually I will use this space to break down the play using stills in order to understand how the play transpired. However, Jeff Angus at Canucks Army has already done an excellent breakdown of this goal (**shakes fist in mock fury at Canucks Army**). So, given that, I don't see much point in trying to do the exact same thing here - do go check out Jeff's piece though. Instead let's move on to the significance of the achievement and reflect on Henrik's career with the Canucks.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin were drafted in 1999 and made their NHL debut in 2000. They have now cemented their places in the Canucks pantheon of all-time greats.
The twins were maligned in their early days in the league, being criticized for being "too soft" for the North American game or, if the critic wanted to draw on lazy misogynistic discourse, being labeled as the "Sedin sisters" (because, y'know, "women, amirite?"). Henrik recorded a modest 29 points in his first season, but steadily increased that total each season to be a roughly 0.5 PPG game player by the time of the 2004-05 lockout. He and Daniel played on the Canucks second line, behind the formidable West Coast Express, and also saw less time on the powerplay than they would in later years.
Coming out of the lockout, however, the Sedins busted out in a big way. Henrik scored 75 points in 2005-06, nearly double his previous career high of 42. Suddenly it was clear that this was the Sedins' team. Henrik would hover between 75-82 points over the first four seasons post-lockout, strong numbers for the a first-line centre and a remarkably consistent performance. Then the 2009-10 season happened, and those few lingering critics were forced to finally discard their tired narratives about the Sedins' worth as NHL players. Henrik busted out in a massive way, scoring 112 points and taking home the Canucks' first ever Art Ross and Hart Trophies. Impressively, he did so without the help of Daniel, who missed 19 games with injuries.
Suddenly Henrik was viewed as an NHL superstar. Remember this game, in which he sealed the scoring title with an amazing four assist performance?
(Side note: I feel gutted everytime I see Rick Rypien clips. RIP Rypper.)
Since that remarkable season, Henrik's numbers not surprisingly regressed. Nonetheless, he remains among the premier centres in the NHL and would arguably, if given comparable time on the ice to his NHL peers, still be a 90+ point player each season. Henrik has also been remarkably durable, playing every single game since the 2004-05 lockout and continuing to ride a 555 game streak.
Given this history, it is appropriate that Henrik has now become the team's all-time points leader ahead of all-time Canucks greats such as Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund (Daniel is not far off Henrik's pace, and will also move into second on the list this year if he nets 26 or more points before the end of the season). In a nice tribute to Henrik's accomplishment, both Linden and Naslund recorded a message of congratulations that was played following the goal:
Henrik is already one of the all-time greatest Canucks and is still writing his legacy with the franchise. His assist this week was a significant milestone, but given that he shows no sign of slowing down there may be yet be more exciting chapters to come in his spectacular career with the Canucks. For now, however, let's revel in the accomplishment and applaud our captain for his exceptional accomplishment: