Elation, sorrow, nostalgia, excitement, fear.
These are all emotions that might be relevant to you today, as Canucks fans received the news today about the retirement of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
After 17 seasons of enjoying their play and gasping at their patented Sedinery, there are only three games left for fans to watch the twins play.
How can we possibly thank the Sedins for all they’ve done in just three games? It’s an impossible task, but a token of gratitude is owed to this organization. There was a good chance that the Sedins could have taken the offseason to ponder their future, and fans wouldn’t have been afforded the opportunity to marvel at them one last time.
With the Canucks firmly out of the race for last place, these final three games should be solely about thanking the two greatest players in franchise history.
Revolutionizing the Game
Even if the number one overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft ended up being a bust, there’s no doubt that the Sedins delivered on their high expectations.
There were signs of great things to come early on in their career. Even though there were deficiencies in their game early on, they formed some chemistry with rugged winger Trent Klatt. You could tell that their cycle game was one of the best in hockey early in their career, and they would only get better as time went on.
Not only did they end up being two of the best players at cycling the puck, they revolutionized the way cycling was perceived in hockey. That old school hockey mindset would be to get your biggest winger down-low to hound for the puck, eventually getting the loose biscuit to one of his teammates.
That was a job Todd Bertuzzi took on during his height of success with the Canucks, but the Sedins brought a new twist to the cycle.
They were never overly physical players, but their strength on the puck was nearly unrivaled. It was part of the reason why they were hardly injured throughout their illustrious careers. People who call the Sedins soft have never paid attention to them on the cycle.
joey kenward reacting to the sedins tying in sedin trivia (both guessed 104 minutes off of the correct number of their combined career penalty minutes) is a lowkey favourite sedin moment pic.twitter.com/niYKAC3sTD— Gráinne (@wholegrainne) April 2, 2018
"I remember Daniel got hit last year and had a separated shoulder. He didn't miss any time. Then last Sunday Henrik was sick and could barely get out of bed, then he played 19 minutes. These are tough players and I'm glad our young players were around that." - GM Jim Benning— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 2, 2018
Defencemen across the league were bewildered by the Sedins. Even in close quarters, they were so quick and creative that they didn’t need that big-bodied winger to fish out the puck for them. Instead, they just needed someone to go to the net and get open. They would take care of the rest.
The Sedins offensive success goes hand-in-hand with a greater emphasis on skill and creativity in today’s game. They have to be included in that game-changing conversation because they are two of the most skilled and creative players of their generation.
Never again will we see two twin brothers put up back-to-back scoring titles in NHL history. That in itself is unprecedented, and it’s something that probably isn’t celebrated enough.
Their success is often overshadowed by that Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins, but they realistically should be judged on 17 years of work rather than one game.
Henrik will finish 26th overall all-time in assists. He was one of the greatest playmakers of his generation. Even in his final season, Henrik is still 35th league-wide in assists, still showcasing his playmaking ability at age 37.
While maybe not the purest-goal scorer, Daniel is certainly the most prolific goal scorer in Canucks history. He leads the teams in a number of categories including goals, power play goals, game-winning goals, overtime winners, and 20-goal seasons.
One of the most impressive things about their success, is that they never achieved it with a superstar winger.
Alex Burrows will go down as one of the most beloved Canucks of all-time, but he was by no means a superstar. He had a unique chemistry with the Sedins and the trio was one of the Canucks best lines of all time. Aside from Burrows, they played with a mismatch of players, none of who were considered superstars.
Can you imagine how dominant they might have been if they played with a superstar right-winger?
Regardless, they never once complained about a lack of firepower on their line. To be honest, they never really complained about anything at all. They went about their business despite playing in one of the most hockey-mad markets in the world.
Uncanny and Unwavering Loyalty
Never mind the point totals, never mind the regular season and playoff accolades. One of the traits that made the Sedin twins so easy to root for was their loyalty to this city.
In 2009, Brian Burke tried to reunite with his favourite twins by tempting them to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. What did the Sedins do? They stayed in Vancouver for less money than they could have taken elsewhere.
And what did they do after that? They took $1.5 million out of their already discounted salary, and donated it to help build a new Children’s Hospital.
They are two of the classiest fellows in not just Canucks history, but NHL history. It seems like they did and still do love this city dearly, and that’s something that has to be remembered with their legacy.
For a fan base that has endured a number of fallacies, watching the Sedin twins was a constant that never disappointed us. They led this team through the best stretch in franchise history, and one can only hope that their wisdom and attitude infects the key members currently in the dressing room.
Hell, they could have kept their retirement a secret until the summer, but they’re giving us a chance to enjoy watching them play one last time. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts and endlessly thank these two classy and talented legends for all they’ve done throughout the last 18 years.