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Henrik: "I think our core players have really grown up here and have become better as the years went on"


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Before setting off for the World Championships to play for Sweden — where that country hopes to be in the final it is hosting — Canucks captain Henrik Sedin stood up for Canucks coach Alain Vigneault at the end-of-season meet and greet with the media.

And why wouldn’t he. After all, as the captain, it’s his job to pretend it’s a wonderful sailing ship that just happened to take on a little too much water. And let’s be clear here: From Henrik’s perspective, what’s not to like?

The twins never have to kill penalties, they get the lion’s share of every power play — no matter how poorly things are going — they start almost every shift in the offensive zone and when things go awry the coach never fingers them publicly.

They’re in the team’s leadership group, which is the management sounding board for any moves they might be planning to make, and the worst blame that ever comes the Sedins’ way is when the coach might say, “Your best players have to be your best players.” This is as close as it gets to heaven for an NHL player, so naturally they’d like the country club to be run just as it has been, with perhaps a couple of suggestions for the team chef for next year.

Said Henrik: “AV has been nothing but great for this team. So if they want to go in a different direction, that’s up to them. I think our core players have really grown up here and have become better as the years went on. AV has helped us grow as players, and as leaders as well. So I have nothing but good things to say.”

Excuse me, better as the years went on? Sorry, not seeing that after the past two playoffs.

Helped you grow as leaders? After last year’s playoffs, the way Henrik worked and kept pushing against the Kings, you might have had some agreement with that. But after this year’s shocking display — whereby the twins did the absolute square root of sweet fanny adam, coming up with just one even strength point in the series and not reaching anywhere near the level of intensity necessary to compete until the third period of game four — we have to call horse manure to that as well.

And then the captain went on to indict the coaching staff and/or his brother and himself, when he claimed the power play’s shortcomings were the team’s biggest trouble when it came to scoring goals.

“One of the main things is that our power play hasn’t been very good, that’s the main thing,” said Henrik. “We’ve had a few injuries to key guys that you need on your power play. If that percentage goes up to where it should be, I think those are the goals we’re missing. That’s been the problem this year, and it was last year as well.”

Hold on a minute here, pal. Nobody was missing for the playoffs. Both Ryan Kesler and Daniel were present and accounted for, and fit as fiddles. And they’d been around to practise everything for several games before the postseason began. Daniel missed a bit of last season and Kesler much of this season, but missing one guy as they were in each of these instances — never both at the same time — can’t be the reason your power play has gone from being the best in the game to something people laugh at.

It’s here where Henrik inadvertently levels some of his greatest criticism at the coaching staff: by citing the obvious power-play failure. When you have both Sedins, Alex Edler, Alex Burrows, Jason Garrison and — when it counted — Ryan Kesler all available and your power play sucks, there’s something profoundly wrong with its design. And that’s the responsibility of the coaches.

Clearly what was needed during Kesler’s absence for much of this season was to design a power play whereby Henrik could have delivered the puck from the left offensive boards to the wheelhouse of Jason Garrison on the left point. That would have been the equivalent of Henrik putting it on Sami Salo’s stick from the right side of the ice, and that was always successful. Henrik might have had to move lower, closer to the net to create room and then backhanded the pass from that left side, but he’s more than capable of pulling that off. But the coaches couldn’t even find a way to get Garrison on the ice on the first unit in any capacity, something that almost certainly had to stun everyone in the league.

When asked if he thought Henrik on the left side, feeding him on the left point, might have been an option on the first unit, Garrison laughed in frustration and said: “I like to think I can shoot the puck from anywhere on the ice.”

Over the years the Sedins have been great contributors to this team and this community, and that is truly loved and admired by all. Lately though, they’ve also been making considerable contributions to the bullbleep pile as well.

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If the core really has become better as the years go on as Henrik says, then what happens to them come playoffs? Speficially the last two playoff series in which Canucks have just 1 playoff victory.

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I don't know if Henrik is delusional or is just saying this stuff to be positive.. but there is no way they've gotten better and no your power play is not the problem, but it is one of the problems.....

I guess he didn't learn from the cup finals that relying on your power play doesn't work. Look at the Sharks, they suck unless they get a ton of powerplays.

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