Who would have thought?
The humble, identical twins from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden have become superstars in the the NHL and it's about time.
They won't be replacing Ovechkin and Crosby as the faces of the NHL anytime soon, but their names should be up there with the greats in this league. They have been dominating the league with linemates Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelsson. Henrik has picked up 93 points in 69 games, on pace for 111 points this year, and Daniel has 68 points in 51 games, and if he could play all 82 games in the year, he is on pace to pick up 109 points in a full season, both career highs. Before this season, their career high points totals were 82 for Henrik and 84 for Daniel, and while Henrik has shattered his personal best already, Daniel can still break his previous record with 17 points in 13 more games. The question is, how did they become legit first line players all of a sudden?
I honestly never thought the twins would average more than a point per game in a season in their careers, but they obviously proved me and a lot of other doubters wrong, posting some ridiculous numbers. In their previous 8 seasons, they both only managed to break the 80-point barrier twice, and this is when they played all 82 games in a season. They were productive, but they were never thought of as being in the same, grade A level as Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk and others who can produce more than 90 points per season. There are two things that I believe have helped the Sedins get to the top: chemistry with Burrows/Samuelsson and swagger in their games.
The Burrows experiment started from last season, and that experiment has carried on to this season and their production as a line hasn't slowed down. The Sedins finally found a winger not named Anson Carter who can finish their plays consistently and create room for them to work with. Samuelsson hasn't disappointed either. Put together with the Sedins during the 14 game road trip when the twins were struggling to produce (believe it or not), Samuelsson hasn't looked back. In 8 games since the Olympic break, Samuelsson has 9 goals in 8 games with his first hat-trick in his career. If you watch the Canucks consistently, you would have seen that Samuelsson and Burrows both look so good with the Sedins, and they threaten to score on almost every shift. The days of rotating wingers with the twins are gone. Burrows and Samuelsson are there to stay for good.
The second aspect of the Sedins' improved play has to be their swagger on the ice. In previous seasons, they would shy away from "bruhahas" and while supporting their teammates, would not be involved in the thick of things, and I definitely see that circumstances have changed now. I have seen the Sedins talk right back to opposing players with smug expressions on their faces. They have new-found intensity in their game, something that should serve them well in the playoffs and years to come.
The only thing that is left to see is if they can produce at this rate in the playoffs too. They had a good playoffs last year, collecting 10 points each in 10 games, but they have to play as well as they have all season long to take the Canucks to the finals for the first time since 1994.
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