There has been much consternation about the twin scoring slumps of twin scoring champs Daniel and Henrik Sedin, but it’s worth noting that offensive droughts are an inevitability in professional hockey. Sometimes they just happen.
Heck, Aaron Rome once went through a spell during his time in Vancouver in which he only tallied 1 goal in 105 games. Now that’s a slump. He finally got back to his usual scoring self this November with 3 goals in 4 games, but then his luck turned once again and he immediately fell into another prolonged drought. The poor guy only has 1 goal in his last 34 games!
But hey man, that’s just slumping.
Granted, unlike Aaron Rome, the Sedins have been fairly slump-resistant in recent memory (perhaps they carry slump repellant in their utility belts?). Their current drought, while a far cry from the potato famine some are making it out to be, is still the worst in a decade, or, as Henrik Sedin brilliantly put it Saturday night, since “Way back then I was a crappy player.”
You can understand why there’s a little unrest about the great Sedin scoring famine of 2012. For the past two seasons, the Sedins have been so automatic that, if they were pointless late in a tied game, you could be confident in the Canucks’ ability to win because the Sedins’ inevitable goal was still forthcoming. Not so over this recent stretch.
So what’s been the issue?
Some are saying it has to do with the way the officiating has changed, as fewer penalties are being called. Fact: the Sedins’ slump corresponds with an 8-game minor penalty famine. And Henrik has avoided the box altogether in 23 of his last 24.
Bonus fact: if you can’t toss a Sedin in the box for hooking on a nightly basis, the rules have changed.
Henrik acknowledged the stark shift what constitutes a penalty yesterday, telling a scrum of reporters, “This might be the only sport where rules change throughout the season depending what game you are playing and if it’s playoffs.” And while he can be forgiven for forgetting that the NBA exists (not a lot of cagers in Sweden, you know), the point stands. Inconsistent reffing may be having an impact.
Some are saying it’s the powerplay itself, which isn’t simply being starved by the secret new new NHL — it’s just not clicking. Sure, maybe it would have had more opportunities to click if the rules hadn’t changed, but a few months of infrequent whistles are hardly enough for the twins to unlearn a lifetime of playing together.
That said, as a married man, I can tell you that even life partners struggle with chemistry issues when trying to overcome a scoring drought.
Perhaps it’s a motivation issue? It’s not like the Sedins are the only in-game somnambulists on the team right now. Their struggles are shared throughout the lineup (a phenomenon Iain MacIntyre called “Sedin contagion“, which sounds like a disease that turns your hair red and your spine into steel). With the Northwest Division seemingly locked up, the St. Louis Blues running away with the West, and the Pacific Division leader a full 11 points back, the Canucks will likely remain firmly ensconced in second place regardless of what they do. So who the heck cares? Could the absence of anything to play for be the monkey behind this outbreak?
And at a more personal level, now that both Daniel and Henrik have won Art Rosses and no one’s out for blood, there’s no sibling rivalry to drive play.
Thus, all things considered, you can forgive the twins if they had a hard time Saturday night lusting for retribution on pesky ol’ P.K. Subban, for whom the highlight of his season will shutting down a slumpy Henrik in a March game that saw the Canadiens finish the night a little less last.
Or maybe it’s something else entirely. You know, Henrik was riding a four-game assist streak until Keith Ballard got injured. And, as mentioned, others are slumping too. Maybe the perpetually snake-bitten Ballard is actually some sort of Messianic figure that selflessly takes on the slumps and hardships of others? Is Keith Ballard the Canucks’ John Coffey? All signs point to yes, provided you abandon reason and logic and only look at one tenuous sign.
Or, speaking of Messianic figures, maybe the twins are afraid to pass Trevor Linden in franchise scoring? Perhaps he made a few veiled (or explicit) warnings? I hate to tarnish the man’s reputation, but I’ve heard from sources deep in the know that he’s been known to write threatening limericks, and I found this one on a piece of paper in the trash outside Rogers Arena:
There once was a captain named Trevor
Revered as the best Canuck ever
Were his totals beaten
He might fly to Sweden
Your arms at the elbow to sever
Okay, those last two theories were nonsense, but cut me some slack. Really, any attempt to explain this slump is grasping at straws.
Like I said, scoring slumps tend to happen, and while this one is a remarkable outlier — a fact that speaks to the Sedins’ mind-boggling consistency — it’s bound to end before we figure out what’s behind it.Tags: Flip the pool, guessing, Sedins, the great Sedin scoring famine of 2012, we'll tell our kids about this famine, Wild Speculation