Vancouver Canucks: A Case For Sedinery.

**I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but there was a lot to say.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin deserve better, VANCOUVER. There is one thing that all of Vancouver fans owe to the Sedins, and that is RESPECT. It’s true that they often do not get the credit they deserve from the East Coast, but lately that disrespect has started to creep over to the West Coast and the city itself. They have given everything they have and more to the team, the fans, and this city.

No matter how great a season they or the team had, it’s never considered enough. When the team is playing well, somehow they aren’t responsible for the good luck but when things go south, the weight is put on their shoulders. All of the blame is often thrown at them. Winning or losing, somehow it is never enough. Have they had stretches where they’ve struggled? Yes, but so has every single player to ever play the game. Every game, every practice, every season, they have taken on the weight of the city that is laid upon them. One day it’s praise for their Swedish scoring finesse or community work, the next it’s non-stop critiques and tearing them down, with the fan base often following suit of the media directed opinion. One day, everyone loves them, the next people are calling them out for reduced point production or begging for the team to move on from them. Oh how quick we are to forget all that they have done for this team and this city. It is most recently forgotten with the emergence of Bo Horvat and the rise of Brock Boeser, that the Sedins are destined to not only have their jerseys retired by the team but to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

So let me help you out. I’m going to tell you a part of the tale featuring: TWO future hall of famers named HENRIK & DANIEL. So take a seat, and prepare to listen the whole way through.

Picture it: it was the 1999 NHL draft and somehow Brian Burke managed the impossible of drafting not one, but BOTH of the Sedin twins. There had been some dark days after the Canucks 1994 run…(Ahem the Messier experiment…) and that fateful day at the draft in 1999 was the beginning of a new era: SEDINERY.

NHL Draft day 1999: The beginning of the #Sedinery journey.

Henrik and Daniel would not make their NHL debut until October 2000. Even in the early days of their career, there was a massive pressure on their shoulders because of all the hype. Everyone expected them instantly to be successful and showcase their finesse with the puck and they did at times. Those early days they showed flashes of what was to come but it was not yet at their best level and everyone from the media to the fans made sure that the twins heard how they could and should do better.

It couldn’t have been easy to come into a city and league with massive expectations already on their shoulders before they even stepped onto the ice. Every game, every season the pressure seemed to amp up around them and the team. Those first few years when the struggles of  the team and their individual games, the rumours swirled faster day by day that perhaps the Sedins were not meant for success and perhaps the team should cut their losses and move on.

Oh what a mistake that would have been! Yes, it’s true that it took the Sedins a few years to hit their stride, but when they did, what a journey it has been to witness as a Canucks fan. Those first few years were not easy, and then the lock out happened which forced many players into playing overseas for a season. Perhaps that lockout year in 2004-05 was a blessing in disguise, the twins played for MODO back in Sweden, and it helped spark the turn around for them.

The puck dropped on the 2005-2006 season and the Sedins came back to the Canucks setting career highs in points behind captain Markus Naslund. That season was also when Anson Carter became the first “third” Sedin, as a line mate that consistently was able to get the twins the puck and anticipate where he needed to be. It was an exciting line to watch that season. Cue the following season, when Roberto Luongo helped back stop the team to the 2007 NW Division title heading into the playoffs and HENRIK scoring the game winner in quadruple overtime of game one versus Dallas. I still remember so vividly that never-ending overtime and the pure elation when that puck crossed the goal line. No, it wasn’t a series winner, but any game winner in quadruple overtime is a memorable goal.  The 2nd round was not our forte….but there were some great moments despite the loss and the blame cannot all be placed on ONE player so do NOT go there.

The following season wasn’t perfect but the Sedins were still consistent, Trevor Linden played his final game and the team showed flashes of what they could be with a promise that they would be better the following season. The[ 2008-2009] season opened with the Canucks beating the Flames 6-0….that was certainly an amazing opening act. And yes, I recall that tough 11-game losing drought that came in January…and how everyone wrote the Canucks off from playoff contention. Once again the team looked like it would be on the outside looking in, once again all of the rumours became everyday vernacular. And then came one fateful February game where it looked like the streak would stretch to 12-games, out of desperation for something to change the course, a pesky Alex Burrows who no one would’ve suspected to be a game changer, scored the goal that ended the streak. It was not long before Burrows was dubbed the official “Third Sedin” or a triplet, they played unbelievable down the stretch to win their 2nd NW Division title in 3 years and just like that the city became crazed in playoff dreams. The first round brought the St.Louis Blues and 2-0 series lead gained at home…including a shutout in game 2. ***let me just say that going to a playoff game is even more incredible than during the regular season…! The Canucks would go on to gain a 3-0 series lead with a chance to sweep..something they had never done before EVER and of course it came down to less than 20 seconds of OT[looking certain to go into a 2nd overtime] but who else but BURR gets to goal for the SWEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great goal-tending & an excellent PK won the series hands down….the next round brought out the Chicago Blackhawks….and well it started out great….1-0 series lead….2-1 series lead….a back & forth game 6 that looked briefly as thought the Canucks would win….but of course we all know what happened…they didn’t and this was the 1st heart-ache the Blackhawks caused me and also ignited a deep loathing of all things Chicago Blackhawk related.

The [2009-2010 season] brought out special circumstances with the Winter Olympics being smack dab in the middle of February and requiring the NHL to pause their season for 2 1/2 weeks while many players represented their countries in the event. The Sedins  who had previously won an Olympic gold medal with Sweden in 2006, had a special opportunity to represent Sweden on their regular season home ice. No medal for them in 2010, but that must have been some kind of incredible experience to see the Olympic games take place in their arena.

Daniel & Henrik Sedin.

Upon returning to the regular season, Henrik and Daniel returned to the lineup and helped the team win their 3rd NW Division title in 4 years and HENRIK won the Art Ross Trophy with 112 points! The 2010 playoffs once more brought excitement to the city still high off of Team Canada winning gold on home ice at the Olympics. Round one went back and forth with the Kings[some great glove saves on both sides..particularly that one LOU had on Smyth!]…but it was the lack of penalty kills and WAY too many penalties being taken that nearly cost this series…..I remember thinking just kill ONE penalty and stop taking more….and finally they killed one and then another and then a few big saves…and a game 4 won to tie the series..and suddenly they were in control of game 5…and game 6 WON! Round 2 once more brought the Blackhawks from the windy city…and once more it started out great…1-0 series lead….but then down 3-1…….and then game 5 WON…..and hope once more….but we all know what happened in game 6…..it wasn’t pretty. 2 years in a row….twice in 6 games the Canucks were eliminated by Chicago…twice they were the better team. It ignited an even greater dislike of all things Chicago Blackhawk related.

Perhaps, one of my favourite goals from that time:

The [2010-2011 season] was all kinds of awesome. The Sedins continued their dominance and helped to lead the Canucks to their BEST franchise record EVER…[54-19-9…earning 117 points to earn the Presidents trophy securing home ice for the entire playoffs] in which they led in all the important categories : #1 powerplay #1 penalty kill(*3rd by playoffs, still amazing), #1 in goals scored and #1in least goals allowed. The Sedins continued their dominance league wide. They won the NW Division title for the 4th time in 5 years and won the entire regular season in the West & the East….the next best team had 109 points. This time it was DANNY that won the Art Ross. The Canucks opened the playoffs against their playoff nemesis Chicago Blackhawks…yes I know..3 years in a row…how is that even possible?! The Blackhawks were lucky to make the playoffs in 2011…but still they had a talented team. The Canucks knowing that if they were to go a long way MUST beat the previous Stanley Cup champion team. It was a fantastic 1st 3 games…the Canucks led the series 3-0!! Seemed just right.but we should all know to never count Chicago out, the Blackhawks started playing the way they always do…and got themselves right back into the series…tying it 3-3….leading to the inevitable game 7…do or die. There were so many implications going into that game….and then it started…LU opened with some great saves and then KES to BURROWS…SCORES!!!!!!!!! and the score remained 1-0 for nearly the entire game…a missed penalty shot….then there was a last minute powerplay which ended up with the Blackhawks tying it shorthanded rather than 2-0 it became 1-1. Overtime for all the marbles….Canucks take a bad penalty….SHARP goes for the goal…but STOPPED BY LUONGO….and suddenly the penalty is over. Campoli misses the clearing attempt BURROWS steals and SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The dragon had been slayed…or as Jim Hughson said it: “it’s a great day for an exorcisim, Vancouver!”.

SHARP shoots…GREAT SAVE LUONGO!!! Campoli misses the clear, BURROWS steals…shoots SCORES!!!!!!!!!! THE CANUCKS SLAY THE DRAGON!! BLACKHAWK DOWN! The games that followed were an amazing run….and one of these days the Canucks will win the cup[every team will have their day]. It was a heck of a run, the entire city was transfixed from beginning to the end.

That season that followed…maybe it wasn’t as amazing as the 2010/2011 season…but it was still a great one…that ended in a 2nd President’s trophy. BURR scoring & LOU stood tall to end the streak in Detroit….these two teams always play great against one another. And maybe there was no magical playoff run this time…but DO NOT place all the blame on Luongo or any one individual player. That is illogical. It breaks my heart to think of how quick when things go wrong that the local media(The Province & The Vancouver Sun in particular) followed by the fans are to solely blame the goalie, the Sedins,…even if the entire team struggled…but all the media focused on the Luongo’s mistakes, and the Sedin’s lack of scoring. I’m sick of it. There were so many factors that led to the end of the team’s season, so many “what ifs”.

And yes, the years that have followed haven’t been easy for the team. Many of the players that were a part of that 2011 run have moved on to other teams or other leagues. The Canucks as a team have only made the playoffs twice since then and according to many seem destined to be out of the playoff picture for years to come. The last few years, many media and fans on social media have been taken with the notion of tanking in order to ensure a top 3 draft pick(which as we’ve all seen is NO guarantee).

And yes, the Sedins aren’t exactly in their prime but they still bring consistency night and night out when they are in the lineup. The Sedins have continued to hit milestone after milestone in this league and with this franchise, most recently both surpassing 1000 points in the NHL. During this most recent stretch when the team was missing some key players for more than 20+ games, it was Henrik and Daniel leading the way quietly with a combined 45 points.

Henrik Sedin 1000th point:

Daniel Sedin 1000th point:

Why after everything they’ve endured the last 20 years, would they want to come back? For the money? No, it’s never been about the money for the Sedins. They are leaders on this team, on and off of the ice. With an influx on young players, it would be all kinds of incredible They love this game, they aren’t done yet and no matter what the media from the East coast, or the West Coast, no one can take that away. And if we let them, they will keep giving it all to this city and this team. And if they choose to hang up the skates after this season or come back for another year, they deserve our utmost respect every step of the way. The Sedins have more than earned that, and as a whole, Vancouver, we can DO BETTER. Let’s DO BETTER.

So the next time you think about following the media’s standpoint on criticizing a player..just think back to what they have done for the team, the city, and the fans…do not just adopt their attitude presented in their article because it is not always true.The fans should not be taken in by the media’s tirade on the team or their players. I would hope that the local media would report the accurate facts not just when things are going well but also when things aren’t going well for the team. Instead during the difficult stretches, it becomes an attack on the players and coaches. Just once, it’d be nice if they would encourage the fans and the city to still cheer loud because that positive perspective can go a long way.  I will never understand how the local media when things go bad can never find one decent thing to say about the team…but only the negatives…and if that is all the fans are reading…suddenly those become the thoughts they are thinking when a similar spiral begins and they too start sharing the same negative blame placing attitude. It is unacceptable and hopefully in the coming season things will change. How would you feel if every time you opened the paper there was a new article about how everything that is going wrong is yet again somehow YOUR fault….it would be ridiculous. Hockey is a TEAM sport…a TEAM game…and like any TEAM game…TEAMS win or lose TOGETHER.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

A piece, I wrote for the Sedins at the start of the 2017-18 season: Thank-you, Hank & Danny.

Sarah E.L.

Advertisements

Memo to the Media (part 2)

Here we go again. New year, same thinking from the local sports media.

To Whom it may concern in the Vancouver Hockey Media,

“Vancouver Canucks fans do not know how to feel…”. “Vancouver Canucks fans only reason to be excited about is Brock Boeser…”.  Vancouver Canucks fans should brace themselves for a terrible season and few years ahead…”. Stop. Please, just STOP. I get it, the Canucks are currently near the bottom of the NHL standings at the mid-season mark and you are all on board with the notion that is “tanking”. If you’ve learned ANYTHING in recent years, TANKING does not work, the draft lottery is PURE luck and despite ending up with the 5th overall pick the last two seasons, the Canucks acquired two players with tons of potential. So, for the love of all that is holy, please stop telling me how I feel about my team. Stop telling me how you think I should feel or when I should feel it about them. If anyone knows how I feel, it is me, not you. And believe me, I know how I feel about this team and not one of your headlines or articles this season has covered it anywhere near accurately.

I used to LOVE reading the sports section in the local papers and listening to local sports radio BUT in the last few years, that has been destroyed. And no, it’s not because I’m naive or in denial about the team’s performance the last few seasons. It’s the fact that one person can only take hearing a nonstop barrage of negativity for so long before it becomes unbearable. You have taken what was one of my favourite daily routines and made me cringe just hearing about the things you write and talk about.

Since the start of the season as has been the case for the last few seasons, you have told me that I have nothing to be excited about this team or even this season and if we were going by your headlines, you would be right. Yes, the numbers that make a season tell a part of the story BUT they do not define the whole story. The numbers do NOT define when or how I am a fan of my team. No game results or season’s results will define when or how I am a fan of my team.

If anything when you write your constant negative headlines or start telling me how Canucks fans are supposed to feel or even when the team struggles, it only makes me support them even more. I know that choosing to be optimistic most likely puts me in the minority of Canucks fans, but if you ask me, a team can always use support, especially during the difficult times.

Yes, you are right that there have been a lot of ups and downs along this regular season journey BUT that does not mean it has all been down hill. And before you tell me that perhaps I am uninformed about the team or detached from the reality that is their current situation…STOP. Please know that I am completely aware of the team’s current state.I can spout their stats forwards and backwards, I know their reality. Or perhaps you think that I am delusional for remaining optimistic rather than joining in with all of the negative voices? Or perhaps you think I am against the team making moves at the deadline? STOP. I don’t need the game, the season or the team’s history explained to me in condescending tones. I understand these things as much as any other Canucks fan but I choose to have a different perspective.

I choose to recognize the absolute rarity it is to have witnessed TWO players amass 1000+ points each, all with the franchise. I choose to enjoy that the Canucks roster currently boasts a league leading rookie with a shot that rivals Bure and Naslund, on his way to breaking and setting new records in the Canucks books as well represent the team at the 2018 All-Star game. I choose to be optimistic about the team’s future and excited about their increased prospect depth including players like: Demko, Juolevi, Lockwood, Gaudette, Pettersson, Dahlen, Lind, Gadjovich.

And yes there may be some fans and many of you that are still all aboard #teamtank but that will never include me. As we all know, tanking does not and will not guarantee a top 3 draft pick. It goes completely against my nature to purposely cheer against my team. I know that this season has been less than ideal and very much a struggle for them at times but that does NOT mean that I will stop supporting the team. Just because I choose to look past the negatives and see the positives that DO exist does NOT mean that I am naive or misunderstand the game. All it means is that regardless of ANY stat, I will support my team through the good and the bad.

Win or lose, good or bad, the Vancouver Canucks are my team, ALWAYS. End of story.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.