Relive Henrik’s big moment from ice level; learn why you had to watch ads the first time (VIDEO)

Henrik Sedin became the Vancouver Canucks’ all-time leading point-getter Friday night, collecting his 757th career point when he threaded a filthy pass to Alex Burrows for a second period one-timer. It was an incredible moment, one marred only by two small hiccups: first, the Dallas Stars would storm back with three unanswered goals to ensure that the feat occurred in a loss. Second, the aftermath of the historic point saw no stoppage in play for a good three minutes. The fans responded with a standing ovation in the meantime, which was cool, but when that stoppage finally came, Sportsnet went to commercial, which was less so.

As a viewer at home, it was frustrating to have to leave the party.

But if you’re still ruing that moment, we’ve got two things to help you. The first is an incredible, uninterrupted video of the entire sequence following Henrik’s record-breaking point, filmed at nearly ice level. The second is an explanation of why you were watching ads while the Rogers Arena crowd was watching Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund salute the man that had bested them.

The video was uploaded by Canucks fan Bruno Amaral, who was seated with his wife just behind the Canucks’ bench. He has an incredible vantage point of the aftermath, as the Sedin line returns to the bench as though nothing happened, watches the action while awaiting their next shift, then finally gets back out for Henrik’s belated celebration:

I especially like the little tap Ryan Kesler gives Henrik as the scoring play is announced. Very low-key.

As for why you missed the last two minutes of this video so that sponsors could attempt to sell you things: blame Henrik.

This probably doesn’t come as any sort of surprise if you know the guy, but low-key is how he wanted it. You can see in the video that he himself treats the momentous point like any other unmomentous point, and he requested that no one else make a big deal about it either. Speaking with various people at Sportsnet, I was told that it was actually Henrik’s decision not to stop play immediately after he set the mark for a tribute, and Henrik explained this to Elliott Pap during Sunday’s game day skate.

Unfortunately, that left Sportsnet in a bind. According to the NHL broadcast factbook, they’re required to go to commercial at the first stoppage in play after the 14-minute mark, the 10-minute mark, and the 6-minute mark. Henrik registered the point at 9:56 of the second period, four seconds in advance of their next mandatory commercial break. Thus, had play stopped for the tribute then, they wouldn’t have had to cut away. But when play continued, the game clock dropped below the 10-minute mark and they entered TV timeout territory.

It’s important to note that Sportsnet wasn’t able to make any sort of maverick decision on this. These commercial breaks aren’t flexible in the slightest because they have to be coordinated with any others broadcasters, such as the Team 1040, or Dallas TV and radio. Here’s the pertinent section from page 12 of the NHL’s Broadcast Factbook:

Now, there’s one other way this could have been avoided. When Captain Humble messed everything up by insisting play continue as usual, that meant that the officials, too, had to abide by the factbook. As detailed above, “Play will be held for a maximum of thirty (30) seconds after each goal scored. The Commercial Coordinator will communicate with the Off-ice Official wearing the intercom headset , who will then signal to the Referee when to drop the puck to resume play.”

But the official could have gone rogue here and broken this rule, buying time before the 9:56 puck drop. According to an anecdote that was relayed to me, that’s what happened when Trevor Linden became the Canucks’ franchise scoring leader. One of the officials announced something wrong with a patch of ice and got down to fix it, causing a convenient delay just long enough for Linden to be briefly honoured.

(Speaking of having your moment overshadowed, by the way, if you thought it put a damper on the festivities somewhat for the Dallas Stars to storm back and win that game, recall that Linden became the all-time scoring leader versus the Colorado Avalanche on March 8, 2004. The Avalanche were leading 5-0 when Linden collected the point on a Brad May goal. And afterward, they added four more in a 9-2 win. Also, Todd Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore’s neck that night. Safe to say nobody was talking about Linden after the single worst game in Canucks’ franchise history. You can understand why this game doesn’t appear on this list of Linden’s 10 greatest moments.)

We did some digging regarding the convenient ice flaw that afforded Linden his moment, and thanks to Canuck fan Daniel Weinberger, we have footage of the timely delay. Immediately after it was announced that Linden had picked up the second assist on the Brad May goal and gotten the milestone point, giant veteran linesman Mike Cvik just happened to find “a hole in the ice”.

Finally, while researching the connection between Linden’s moment and Henrik’s, I came across this curious anecdote: NHL official Dennis LaRue, the second-most experienced active referee behind Paul Devorski, was one of the referees assigned to the March 8, 2004 game. He was also one of the referees last Thursday, along with Ghislain Hebert. I doubt he realizes that he’s been present for two Canuck scoring milestones. I’ve reached out to him for comment, and will update if he chooses to speak with us.

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12 comments

  1. Dave
    February 19, 2013

    Nice work Mooney! I had no idea commercial breaks were so rigid. I only knew that networks could no longer cut to break for icing calls (I’m still surprised they don’t do in-game ads here, like those old Canadian Tire plugs).

    Still, this should have been anticipated by all broadcasters. In the past they have been prepared for other athlete milestones, though a team scoring record might not be glamorous enough.

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  2. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    February 19, 2013

    Gotta love typos in official NHL documents. The intermission will be eighteen? Does that mean we can sleep with it?

    On a side note, when did the intermission become 18 minutes? It was always 15 when I was a kid, and then one day recently they sneaked it up to 17. Wasn’t aware they had added in a new minute… buy more popcorn, folks, otherwise it’ll be 20 before you know it!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 19, 2013

      I think it was actually this year.

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    • TheGilchy
      February 19, 2013

      Added in the new CBA, along with shorter intermission on-ice activities (puck-toss, etc). This is in order to give the ice a couple extra minutes to freeze over completely.

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  3. tom selleck's moustache
    February 19, 2013

    Good work, Mooney. I was wondering the same thing when I was reading your first article about the lack of attention given to Henrik as I could totally picture him asking management to not take attention away from the team in his favour, such has been his character in his years here.

    I do remember reading about the referee delaying the stoppage time for Trevor’s moment as well. I don’t remember the name of the ref either; but I think I read about it in the “other” newspaper. Maybe you could contact one of the writers there for help.

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  4. Quinn
    February 19, 2013

    I just clicked through to watch the video, but this article was all kinds of fascinating. Great work, as usual, man.

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  5. Nov
    February 19, 2013

    It surprises me mostly that there were people who hadn’t already noticed that commercials happen around the same times every period.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 19, 2013

      Heh. Yeah, I think most people realized that. Not sure most people realize how rigid the rules actually are, or why this specific instance had to be interrupted for a commercial break.

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  6. Cody
    February 19, 2013

    I love how as soon as Trevor Linden shows up on the screen everything gets a lot quieter. When Linden talks you listen.

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  7. Tom
    February 19, 2013

    Heh same idea as me, I was just watching http://youtu.be/xD2AZfJDj8Y to relieve it, I loved the HEN-RIK chants because it reminded me of 2010 and his Art Ross/Hart campaign cheers.

    Of course Captain Humble would want play to go on but dammit Hank sometimes we just wanna love you!

    I’d love to hear from the ref, I hope you do get his thoughts!

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  8. Nancy
    February 19, 2013

    Love it! Thanks for posting here and thanks to the lucky filmer. It’s hard having moved to Portlandia last fall, but this made me still feel part of Canucks Nation. Congratulations, Henrik!

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  9. BedBeats
    February 19, 2013

    :)

    http://i45.tinypic.com/2w59bmq.jpg

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