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[The Province] The Sedins’ Legacy Will be One to Match Bure’s


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BY ED WILLES, THE PROVINCE

After 15 years, the prodigal son returned, and for everything that’s happened between Pavel Bure and this city, there was still love in the air.

If you closed your eyes, in fact, it was like falling in a time portal and coming out in 1993. The crowd was on its feet chanting his name. Bure, who’s barely aged a day in two decades, stood at centre ice and soaked it all in.

Afterwards, he even said it was just like when he was playing. And, just to drive him the point, he was every bit as distant and removed when he was asked to express his feelings about his big night.

“Everybody’s happy,” he said. “That’s the important thing.”

Maybe not the only thing, but he was right. This night, it was the most important thing.

In retiring Bure’s No. 10 on Saturday night, the organization and the faithful chose to remember the good times, those glorious first three seasons when The Russian Rocket took Vancouver the way The Beatles took North America.

Bure was the Canucks’ first superstar, but he was also the city’s first superstar. Before he arrived, seemingly on an Aeroflot ghost flight from Irkutsk, Canucks’ fans had endured two decades of uninterrupted mediocrity and a series of uninteresting teams and players.

But suddenly they had James Dean on their team; a transcendent talent to be sure but also a talent shrouded in mystery, glamour and danger. From his first game against the Winnipeg Jets in November of ‘91, he owned this town, and he was loved in the way of all first loves. Maybe it was awkward and tried too hard, but it came from the heart, unconditionally and completely.

And then it changed.

There are two aspects to the Bure story in Vancouver: the honeymoon of the first three years followed by the troubles — and the plain fact is, it ended badly here.

There were injuries. There were contract beefs. Bure was a once-in-a-generation talent, but he was also a supreme individualist, and that caused friction.

In the end, he walked away without much of an explanation, and he was estranged from the city until last year when Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini brought him back in the fold.

On Saturday night, the circle was completed and the relationship was restored. But there was still something about the ceremony that was mindful of a separation where one of the parties has strayed. There may be reconciliation. There may be forgiveness. But it’s never quite the same as it was when they were young and it felt like it would last forever.

Now, as luck would have it, Daniel and Henrik Sedin were watching the ceremony with newly signed four-year extensions in their possession, and the juxtaposition between Bure’s career here and the twins’ journey with the Canucks was hard to miss.

Bure’s best four years with the Canucks were his first four. In the Sedins’ first four years, they struggled with the physicality of the NHL game and the expectations, of being taken second and third overall by a crummy team.

Those four seasons might have destroyed others. The twins simply used them to work their way out of their predicament. They built up their bodies. They improved their skating. They did this through diligence and resolve and effort and they took a big step forward coming out of the ‘04-05 lockout. Then they suddenly morphed two of the game’s very best players.

In his ninth season with the Canucks, Henrik was awarded the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP and won the Art Ross. After his seventh season in Vancouver, Bure had demanded a trade.

Maybe the twins plateaued after the 2011 Cup run, but through the first month of this season, they’ve been superb. And they were superb again on Saturday night, manufacturing the all-important first goal on the power play, playing well over 20 minutes each in the 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

They’re now tied to the franchise for the rest of their careers, and when they’re done, they will be remembered as 1 and 1A on the list of the greatest Canucks.

Maybe they’ve never captured the imagination of the city the way Bure did, and they were never as exciting or as charismatic. But their legacy will be built on the bedrock of loyalty, persistence and consistency which, as far as legacies go, isn’t too shabby.

Bure was a super nova, and when he burned, he was blinding. The twins’ flame might not be as bright, but after all these years, it’s still burning, and it won’t be extinguished any time soon.

ewilles@theprovince.com

twitter.com/willesonsports

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Unlike Bure, Sedins are more than just hockey players for the team or for the city.. They're role models, leaders, generous wish-to-be-anonymous donation makers, and they have that ability to make everyone around them better... I'm not sure any of those can be said about Bure during his time here

They may not be as flashy or as "dynamic" as Bure... But they're definitely the best overall, all around players the Canucks ever had ...

Side note: on the contrary, not as flashy or dynamic, or in other words, not relying on their speed.. has made them that much more durable

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they are all great players for our team, but would the twins be putting up the same numbers if they didn't have eachother? Bure didn't need a twin to produce. If it came down to one of these three players to take a penalty shot to win the cup,(or who would you want to have the puck with the game on the line is a better example, nothing to do with the shot out the other night) who would you pick? Bure for me. just my 2 cents.....

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they are all great players for our team, but would the twins be putting up the same numbers if they didn't have eachother? Bure didn't need a twin to produce. If it came down to one of these three players to take a penalty shot to win the cup, who would you pick? Bure for me. just my 2 cents.....

I don't know about Daniel but Henrik had his best season in 2009-2010 when Daniel was injured for the majority of the season. I think that this is enough proof that Henrik can play without Daniel.

That being said, I think that Bure was the best player out of the three. The Sedins are consistent but in my opinion, they don't have that "gamebreaking" ability that Bure had. Bure could change the entire game just by touching the puck and could takeover games at will. If the Canucks had a player like that now we would be a force to be reckoned with.

I'd choose Bure for the penalty shot too but look at Henrik score in this video!

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they are all great players for our team, but would the twins be putting up the same numbers if they didn't have eachother? Bure didn't need a twin to produce. If it came down to one of these three players to take a penalty shot to win the cup, who would you pick? Bure for me. just my 2 cents.....

I see what you did there

Anyways I don't want to compare the sedins and bure cause they play totally opposite styles. In fact, if the sedins had bure as linemate it would be the best line this franchise has ever had.

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The Sedins are better players than Bure in my opinion.

Healthy Bure > either of them...on the ice.

Off the ice though, both of the Sedins are far better representatives of the team. Also, staying healthy is part of the equation.

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Healthy Bure > either of them...on the ice.

Off the ice though, both of the Sedins are far better representatives of the team. Also, staying healthy is part of the equation.

Very hard to compare: Bure was explosive; the Sedin's precise and tactical.

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Pretty lousy article by Ed Willes, I have to say. The "parallel" between Bure and the Twin's careers is incredibly weak. Hell, I'd say he could have made a better case comparing Bure and Naslund, but whatever.

The Twins are exceptional in every way, on and off the ice. I can't think of two guys I'd rather have representing this team, and when they retire, even if it was tomorrow, their jerseys will be going up. I don't even think that's debatable. No player has done more for this team than the Sedins.

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Pretty lousy article by Ed Willes, I have to say.

I found the comparison an interesting perspective. I was fortunate to have watched both Bure and the Sedins enter the NHL, and it's absolutely right that the first few years of the Sedins were frustrating to watch. They got pushed off the puck so easily, and were falling so much they made Raymond look like a pillar of strength. You could see the potential with them, and how they intuitively knew each other's presence on the ice, but the cycling wasn't translating into any quality scoring chances consistently until season 4 or 5. Their first two contracts were overpayments, so when they took pay cuts the past few years, it felt fair in some ways.
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I found the comparison an interesting perspective. I was fortunate to have watched both Bure and the Sedins enter the NHL, and it's absolutely right that the first few years of the Sedins were frustrating to watch. They got pushed off the puck so easily, and were falling so much they made Raymond look like a pillar of strength. You could see the potential with them, and how they intuitively knew each other's presence on the ice, but the cycling wasn't translating into any quality scoring chances consistently until season 4 or 5. Their first two contracts were overpayments, so when they took pay cuts the past few years, it felt fair in some ways.

But I never said the Sedins didn't have a rough start. Plenty of players go through difficult stretches, there's no denying that. And the issue with Bure wasn't his on-ice ability, it was poor management at the time. So really, what's the parallel between them? They don't play similar styles, they didn't struggle for the same reasons, and they handled their struggles in completely different ways. The fundamental structure of the article is, as I said, very weak. The facts included are not incorrect, but the inference of some kind of similarity just doesn't make much sense.

On top of that, the conclusion is a bit mind-boggling. The Sedins "will some day" (to paraphrase) match Bure's legacy? No players in franchise history have scored more points for the Canucks. Enough said.

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