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Thou shalt not split up the Sedins - NOV.15.07


Nancy Henderson

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<table width=90% align=center border=0><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/henderson_headshot.jpg align=left hspace=4>Phew. After the Canucks secured seven out of a possible eight points in the last week and a half, things are looking a little brighter. Passing is crisp, the stickwork is excellent, defensive systems are being deployed properly and Roberto rocks. We still can’t win faceoffs and scoring is still a rarity, but at least these are familiar problems. I can finally watch the games without cringing.

I have been meaning to have a small rant about the Sedins. Now, I like the Sedins. After all, they are our best chance to score most nights. So it makes me almost ashamed to admit that I think it is unlikely that I will ever love the Sedins.

This is partly due to the fact that they are basically a black hole of charisma. Personality-wise, they seem as bland and milky as their Nordic complexions. They appear to be nice and a bit playful but pretty darn dull. Even their goals seem a little too workmanlike. Maybe one of them (I’ll vote for Henrik) could practice being the evil twin, to give them an interesting edge.

Hard working and impressively determined they are. Dazzling, they mostly ain’t. Or maybe, after all these years, I am rarely dazzled by their telepathic passing anymore. As I’ve said before, I long for the days of a top line that can skate, pass and score without ever having to dig the puck out along the boards.<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1907_canuckvsking05_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1907_canuckvsking05_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>

When Coach Vigneault was hired here, the one edict that came from on high was “Thou shalt not split up the Sedins”. This seems like stating the obvious, as a lifetime of shared genetics and a career of shared passes has made the Sedins unique in the NHL. But I also believe it has acted as a bit of a crutch and possibly slowed their development in some ways.

The more I watch, the more I think our homeliest of Swedish twins would benefit from being separated, if only occasionally in practice. Teams around the league have begun to deal with their cycling. Not entirely successfully, mind you, as the redheaded lads have 31 points between them, but there are shifts and nights when Daniel and Henrik get trapped behind the opposition net, controlling the puck, sure, but not getting anywhere near a genuine scoring opportunity.

They also have been getting stuck in their own end for too many shifts. The blame for this is usually heaped upon whatever Triplet is lining up with them, but at this point, I think the boys should be able to shoulder the load themselves. Now, to their credit, every year the Sedins work to improve and they do get better. But it seems like a slow process.

<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1907_practice14_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1907_practice14_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>They’re 27 now, smack dab in the middle of their prime, and have never played apart. A little separation anxiety might force the Sedins to think their game differently, perhaps more creatively, and to expand their repertoire. Maybe Hank would start to shoot the puck more. I’d like to test my theory in a game when the team is down by three goals, but I don’t expect it to happen.

Meanwhile I do like the look the defense right now – adversity becomes them. Willie once again demonstrated why the longest stick wins and even young Luc is growing confident enough to display some wicked moves with the puck. And I love to watch Jannik Hansen – his enthusiastic skill and energy are a sweet Danish delight. That lad is overdue for a goal, so much so that I would have sent him out in the shootout last night. Ha – that will be the next crazy idea from the NHL head offices to generate more fan interest – the audience choosing the shooters.

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