September 26th was a special day for Henrik Sedin. It’s the day on which his brother, Daniel, whom he loves very much, was born 32 years ago. (I guess he was too, since they’re twins.)
But the Sedins’ 33rd birthday will mean even more to Henrik. As hockey historian Joe Pelletier points out, the eldest Sedin’s 747 career points mean he is very close to becoming the highest-scoring player in NHL history… born on September 26.
Henrik Sedin needs 5 points to overtake Craig Janney as the highest scoring player in NHL history who was born on Sept. 26th #HockeyHistory
— HockeyLegends (@HockeyLegends) September 26, 2012
Okay, it’s not that impressive. But it’s more impressive than you think.
Being the scoring champion of your birthday depends on two factors: your ability to score points, obviously, and who else was born on the same day. In Henrik’s case, he had a tough birthday. 751 points is a lot to ask.
Daniel Sedin has an even tougher birthday. He doesn’t just have to catch Craig Janney — he has to catch Henrik Sedin, who has opened up a 24 point lead on him over the years. Unless Henrik misses half a season, Daniel will likely never make up the ground he’s lost, meaning he’ll finish his career the same way he exited the womb: second on his birthday.
If only Daniel had been born on a different day. I mean, sure, then he wouldn’t be Henrik’s twin, but he’d already be the birthday scoring champion on several other days. Until 2006, August 7 would have been a cinch. Then Sidney Crosby came along, matched Hazen McAndrew in his first game, and surpassed him in his second. McAndrew has since been caught by New York Rangers’ defenceman Michael Sauer and Los Angeles Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
These days, the easiest day to become the one-day scoring champion would be April 8. As it stands, former Canuck Dave Richter, a 6’5″ sixth defenceman who did little in his career but fight, holds the top spot with a measly 49 points.
Richter isn’t the only ex-Canuck to rule his birthday despite a mediocre career, production-wise: Trent Klatt is the January 30 champion with 343 points. Gerald Diduck and Trevor Letowski are the best of April 5th and 6th, respectively, with 212 and 201 career points.
Some players aren’t so lucky. Alex Burrows is one of a number of Canucks that would or could be the scoring champion of their birthday if it weren’t for the fact that they shared their date of birth with a star. Burrows is the second-highest scoring player born on April 11, with 270 points. But that’s nowhere near the 867 career points of April 11 number one Trevor Linden.
Burrows isn’t the only Canuck forced to second by a better Canuck. Thomas Gradin can commiserate. February 18 would belong to him and his 593 points if Alexander Mogilny hadn’t been born the same day and put up 1032 points in his career.
Jason Garrison would have had a shot, believe it or not. November 13 hasn’t yielded a lot of NHL talent. With just 59 career points, Garrison isonly 63 points out of second. Unfortunately, Gilbert Perrault was also born on November 13, and he has 1326 career points. It’s not happening.
Mason Raymond will never be the September 9th scoring champion. Even if he were to somehow amass the 590 career points necessary to pass Claude Provost, Raymond was born on the same in 1985 as Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin has already amassed 679 points while Raymond dithers about in 9th, behind such luminaries as the aforementioned Provost, Shawn Horcoff (435 points), and Chicago Wolves coach Scott Arniel (338 points).
Ryan Kesler was born on August 31. He has 337 career points, which leaves him 400 back of first-ballot Hall of Famer Scott Neidermayer. It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Kesler reaches this total — although it will take six more seasons of at least 65 points, which makes it a longshot — but even if he does, that won’t get him anywhere near Jean Beliveau’s 1,219-point career.
Former Canuck player and coach Ryan Walter is the second-highest scoring player born on April 24. Not sure what would bother the devout Christian more: to know that he finished only 20 behind Philadelphia Flyers’ winger Reggie Leach, or that this means Leach scored an evil 666 career points.
September 7th would be dominated by ex-Vancouverites if it weren’t for Jacques Lemaire, whose 835 points exceeds all. The guys in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th: Tony Tanti, Matt Cooke and Orland Kurtenbach. Even Gino Odjick is in the mix at 9th.
Dave Babych‘s 723 career points would give him May 23 in a walk if Gary Roberts hadn’t been born the same day five years later. Roberts has 910 career points.
And yet none of these guys have it quite as bad as Pavel Bure, whose 779 career points would make him the scoring champion on many days of the year, but wouldn’t be enough on March 31, even if he doubled it. Gordie Howe was born the same day 43 years earlier. He retired with 1,850 points to his name.
Here are a few Canucks that are fortunate not to be chasing Gordie Howe and could, with long careers of sustained production, win their birthdays:
Jannik Hansen has 104 career points, putting him 372 behind March 15th leader Darcy Tucker’s 476. Hansen had a career- high 39-point season last year — he just needs 9 more to catch Tucker. I wouldn’t bet on it.
David Booth was born on the 24th of November, and he has a shot. (Just ask this elk.) His 196 points put him third behind Gino Cavallini (296 points) and Keith Primeau with 619. At 27, and considering he’s a bona fide fitness nut, Booth could conceivably play another 10 years. He’d need to average 40 points over that span. It’s not impossible, although if he continues wreaking havoc on the animal kingdom, they might organize and take him out.
Other Canucks to outscore everyone else born on their birthday include Markus Naslund (869), Cliff Ronning (Oct. 1, 869 pts.), Todd Bertuzzi (Feb. 2, 751 pts.), Andrew Cassels (July 23, 732 pts.), Stan Smyl (Jan. 28, 673 pts.), Patrik Sundstrom (Dec. 15, 588 pts.), Tiger Williams (Feb. 3, 513 pts.), and Ed Jovanovski (June 26, 494 pts.).
Marco Sturm, Mats Sundin, and Mark Messier all did it too, but they don’t count, for obvious reasons.