We were blessed. And for a fan base that is used to feeling as though the hockey gods punish us with their every waking breath, to even be able to say this is incredible enough. But we were truly blessed that we have been able to watch these red-headed Swedish twins come over and grow up into Hall of Fame NHL’ers. We all have our favorite Sedin moments, and we’re going to spend a lot of time over the next few months talking about them, but right now I want to talk about what I came to realize as I listened to their press conference while driving home today.
The entire career arc of Danny and Hank has been about lessons. Lessons they had to learn in the start of their career, where they came in with tremendous hype, and struggled to meet expectations early on. Boys playing against men, and it showed. Many were quick to write them off, but every time they got knocked down, they got back up. They took abuse that has broken many a player, and not just from opponents. Marc Crawford never gave them an inch, always pushing them to be better, to be stronger. Their work ethic became evident as they would return in the fall, a little stronger, a little faster, and a little better.
In time, we began to see what Brian Burke and co. saw when they pulled off the deals to get the 2nd and 3rd picks in the 1999 Entry Draft. The Sedins were doing things with the puck that you didn’t think possible, even upon repeated viewings. They could never be counted out of a play, because even double-teamed one could find the other. They made the cycle into an art form, made the slap pass a thing and the rest? It was simply referred to as ‘Sedinery’. Part soccer, part Harlem Globetrotter-esque basketball style plays that made some of the league’s best look downright foolish.
Here’s the thing: If the Canucks organization didn’t have the patience to allow them to develop at the pace they did, and provide them with the mentorship of players like Markus Naslund, Matthias Ohlund, Trevor Linden and others, there’s a good chance they never become the superstars they did. And it’s this lesson that is the most important as we move into the post-Sedin era.
Patience. Patience for guys like Elias Petersson, Adam Gaudette, Olli Juolevi and Thatcher Demko. Patience for Jake Virtanen, Troy Stecher and Nikolay Goldobin. Give them the time and opportunity to succeed. Give them a supporting cast that can not just provide mentorship, but help them win, not just teach them how.
There’s going to be a lot of changes on this team next season. New faces, and not just one’s that have been drafted, but we’re likely to see Jim Benning go shopping to bring in players to fill the void left by the retirement of #22 and #33. Big shoes to fill. The confidence we should have in their ability to do this competently is a discussion for another time. For now, take some time to remember how truly lucky we were to have these two wear Canuck Blue and Green. The term G.O.A.T. gets thrown around somewhat easily these days, but I say it without hesitation for them. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were the greatest to ever wear this jersey. Now, be patient. There is a wave of talent that has massive expectations that they may not be able to live up to. They deserve the kind of patience the Sedins were given.