Can the Sedins find a happy medium in their response to physical play?

Two years ago, the Sedins lost their cool during the Canucks’ series against the Chicago Blackhawks and were criticized for their lack of mental discipline, as they uncharacteristically took part in the after-whistle scrums with the likes of David Bolland and Andrew Ladd. The story quickly became that you could distract the Sedins and get them off their game with chippy, physical play.

A year later, the Sedins took the opposite tack in the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, accepting any and all punishment in hopes of drawing penalties and taking advantage on the powerplay. This, however, resulted in the Sedins being called soft, particularly when Daniel allowed Brad Marchand to repeatedly punch him in the head after a whistle. The story quickly became that you could intimidate the Sedins and get them off their game with chippy, physical play.

It seemed like they were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. If they responded, they were criticized for lacking mental toughness, but if they didn’t, they were criticized for lacking physical toughness.

After Wednesday night’s game four in Los Angeles, it seems like the Sedins are trying to find a happy medium between the two.

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Canucks-centric highlights of the 2012 NHL All-Star Game

The 2012 NHL All-Star Game might have been a letdown if you were expecting playoff intensity, but for everyone who went in expecting a fun game of shinny featuring some incredibly talented hockey players, the game completely lived up to expectations.

For Canucks fans, there were a number of highlights, with Daniel and Henrik Sedin playing a major role up front, while Alex Edler was second in icetime for Team Alfredsson and third overall in the game.

Henrik tied Daniel Alfredsson’s team-high with 3 points, while Daniel (Sedin, that is) had two points of his own. And, while Edler was held off the scoresheet, he did tie Scott Hartnell and Shea Weber with a team-high plus-2 rating in a game Team Alfredsson lost by 3 goals.

Check out the highlights after the jump.

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Edler and the Sedins join Team Sweden at the NHL All-Star Game

A Canuck didn’t get picked until Round 9 and, unsurprisingly, he wasn’t picked by Zdeno Chara. Daniel Sedin, the defending Art Ross winner and 9th in scoring this season, was the 18th pick of the draft. Including the Captains and Alternates, Daniel was the 22nd player to join one of the All-Star teams.

If that seems odd, his brother Henrik is higher in league scoring and went 8 picks later in the 13th round, also to Team Alfredsson. Despite getting picked later than his brother, he managed to chip in a Grade-A chirp when asked about playing against his brother in the last All-Star Game: “It was nice to play with some good players last year, finally.”
Alex Edler, fifth in scoring amongst defencemen, was the last blueliner picked in the draft, having to wait until round 15 before getting picked by – surprise, surprise – Daniel Alfredsson.

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From the Archives: Daniel’s Worst Christmas, an original holiday tale

Originally published on December 18,2010, “Daniel’s Worst Christmas” is a poetic retelling of the Canucks’ 2009-10 regular season in which an injury to Daniel Sedin led to a Hart trophy season for his twin brother, Henrik. But that wasn’t the whole story…

With Christmas only days away, we thought we’d bring this one back from the dead. Granted, some of its jokes are a year-old (but the Calgary Flames remain bad, so that one still works), and it remains a poem, unfortunately, but you might still find it worth your time.

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I Find This Video Odd: Daniel Sedin heads the puck

The Sedins have some very creative ways to enter the offensive zone, which is one of the big reasons they’re so difficult to stop. Once the Sedins are in the offensive zone, wizardry occurs, so one of the few ways to prevent them from scoring is to prevent them from gaining the zone in the first place. This is why they continually invent new ways to keep their opponents guessing.

On Wednesday against the Red Wings, however, Daniel Sedin improvised a brand new way to get over the blueline. At least, I’m assuming he’s improvising: otherwise, this is the greatest set play in the history of the Sedins.

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The Sedins skate uphill, invoke the 90s

The Canucks initially showed this awesome video on Rogers Sportsnet during one of the intermissions of their game against the LA Kings and now it’s available online. And I love it. It’s absolutely hilarious to watch two of the best players in the NHL inline skating in the summer time, mainly because of the memories it evokes.

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The Soft Sedin Myth

Popular wisdom is that the easiest way to shut down the Sedins is to play a tough, physical game. The theory goes that the Sedins wilt under physical pressure, with the Stanley Cup Final submitted as proof. The takeaway from that series for a lot of people is that the Sedins are too soft and that all that is required to shut them down is to hit them. Is this view true? How do the Sedins perform in more physical games? Are the Sedins soft?

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Drance Numbers is the silly research wing of PITB. While Messrs. Wagner and Mooney blog nationally and solve mysteries, Drance Numbers will look into the minutiae of quantifiable NHL data and bore you with it every Friday. Today, Drance looks at the shooting percentage of Sedin linemates.

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In last night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks were down by one goal nearing the end of the second period, when Marco Sturm earned a small portion of his $2.25 million contract by forcing an offensive zone faceoff with 24 seconds left. Unsurprisingly, Alain Vigneault sent out his top line of Burrows and the Sedins in hopes of getting a late goal.

Since the Oilers were at home, they had the last change and Tom Renney could send out whoever he wanted. He smartly chose his veteran second line of Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, and Ryan Jones. Horcoff was the Oilers’ best man in the faceoff circle and took the majority of the defensive zone draws: so far, so good. He then made a baffling decision. For his defensive pair, he sent out his bottom pair of Andy Sutton and Corey Potter. This was not a good idea. Let’s explore why in pictures.

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Stathead Thomas Drance takes a look at the Canucks’ goal projections for the 2011-12 season, both as a team and player-by-player. It’s some full frontal nerdity.

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The NHL Awards are tonight and it’s an exciting time for Canucks fans as Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, Alain Vigneault, and Mike Gillis are all up for awards. It’s a fun time when all the hockey players dress up in fancy suits and take awkward red carpet photographs. Personally, I’d love to tune in and enjoy the show, but since Jay Mohr is hosting it, I won’t. I won’t enjoy it, so I won’t tune in. I know I will just get angry that they brought back the painfully unfunny Mohr for a second time hosting, when it appears that he doesn’t know anything about hockey. I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy (actually, I’m not sure of that at all, but I’ll assume), but it’s awkward hearing someone tell jokes about hockey when it seems like he doesn’t actually understand the jokes. Also, he’s terrible.

Did they ask anyone else to do it? Could they not think of anyone else to ask? Because I can think of a few people who would be better than Jay Mohr. Here are 10 better options:

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It takes 12 wins to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Bearing this in mind, after exactly 12 games, why aren’t the Canucks there yet? Why, I ask you, are they still toiling away in the second round, a round they could have completed as many as four games ago? The answer is simple: because Daniel and Henrik Sedin are a combined minus-14.

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It’s fair to say that Daniel and Henrik Sedin have struggled so far in these playoffs. It’s fair to say that the Canucks need more from their two Art Ross winners. It’s fair to say that the Canucks will need the Sedins to be better if they have any chance of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.

It’s not fair to combine their plus/minus ratings as evidence for these fair claims.

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A day after San Jose failed to sweep their series with Detroit, giving Vancouver the glorious chance to get at least a day’s more rest with a game five series win on home ice, the Canucks failed to capitalize, frittering away the opportunity with a night full of uncharacteristic blunders. Brutal blunders, like turning the puck over, giving up a shorthanded goal, or making Joel Ward’s July 1st price tag skyrocket. As Roberto Luongo said, “[Nashville] didn’t do anything special tonight. Whatever they got, we gave them.” He is correct. The Canucks outplayed the Predators in nearly every facet of the game, generating more chances, and even outscoring the visitors four to three. Problem was, some of those chances came in front of Roberto Luongo, and one of those four goals was scored into the wrong net. Like I said, blunders a go-go, all of which Alain Vigneault would probably classify as real bad. Blech. My mouth tastes sour, either because of the adverb abuse in the previous sentence, or because I watched this game.

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Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catchup. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead–often called “the worst lead in hockey”–is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, PITB will now effortlessly catch up.

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Cynical Interpretations of Quotes is a new feature on Pass it to Bulis, wherein we take what a player said with the best of intentions and interpret it as cynically as possible.

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Here’s the NHL’s latest ad in the “History Will Be Made” series, starring stickhandling wizard Daniel Sedin, and if last Friday’s game-winner didn’t give you the warm fuzzies in real time, it definitely does when slowed down. Mind you, almost anything is inspirational if you slow it down and set it to piano noodling, but it helps when your source material is this beautiful.

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The Canucks went into game 2 of their opening round playoff series with the Blackhawks hoping to do something they had failed to do in two previous tries: win the damn game. They succeeded, too, although it was no picnic, perhaps because this isn’t the National Picnic League. Tonight’s Blackhawks had more jump, more grit, and more offense than the Chicago team from two nights ago, but unfortunately, they didn’t get to play the Chicago team from two nights ago. They played the Canucks, who had more jump, more grit, and more offense than tonight’s Blackhawks. I watched this game:

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Welcome to the back half of the Best of the Sedins countdown, the top 5 plays the Canucks’ top line orchestrated this year. Before we go any further, let me say that this list is far from definitive, and I’d be interested to hear your contrary opinions in the comments.

And, if you’re planning to happen by the comments, here’s something for you to ponder: are the Sedins the greatest players in Vancouver Canucks history? I think they are. I watched Pavel Bure; I watched the West Coast Express, too. For me, what the Sedins do night after night simply wins out. The way they move the puck, the meticulous way they break apart a defense, the casual way they do the incredible–it’s unlike and above any other superstars Vancouver has ever had.

You want proof? I submit, for the record, exhibits 5 through 1:

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PITB’s first post ever was a top 5 countdown of the best Sedin goals of last season, posted exactly a year ago today. We thought, in honour of our first birthday, and the fact that the Sedins are totally balls, it was time to return to our roots. What are blogs for if not for lists?

Unlike last year, there is no de facto number one, but there are about fifteen plays worthy of a spot in the top five. As a result, we’ve doubled the list, and will now be counting down the top ten Sedin plays of 2010-11. Be warned: this list is highly subjective. Last week’s post, in which we shared 12 wizardous candidates, proved consensus on Sedin-ranking to be impossible. As a result, we just decided to go with our gut, which I can safely say has never steered me wrong, save last week, when it asked for a bacon sundae. Anyway. Here are plays 10 – 6.

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Here’s a basic principle for watching the Sedins: they never do anything by accident. Often times, the twins will pull off something so unthinkable that you’d be forgiven for deeming it a fluke. It never is. Rather, it’s a set play from two eternal optimists–guys convinced everything they try will work. Usually it does.

With that in mind, take a look at Alex Burrows’s goal from last night’s season-ending matchup with the Calgary Flames. At first glance, it looks like an accident: Daniel Sedin comes out from behind the net and tries to go top corner with a shot. Instead, he misses wide and hits Alex Burrows in the gut. The puck falls in front of Burr and he taps it in. But that’s not actually what you see. This was a set play, executed to perfection. Here are three items of argumentative proof:

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For the third time in the last four years, the Canucks and Flames found themselves paired up for game 82 with little on the line. Considering the lopsided outcome of the previous two season-enders, with the Flames walloping the Canucks 7-1 in 2008 and the Canucks matching that goal total in a 7-3 rout last year, one might have assumed that this contest wouldn’t be lively or close. But it was. Like extramarital sex with a ghost, this one was a spirited affair. After falling behind by two, Vancouver needed a third-period comeback and an overtime marker from Christian Ehrhoff to head into the postseason on a winning note. I watched this game.

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After consecutive losses to the Edmonton Oilers pushed the city of Vancouver to the brink of martial law, you had to think a loss to the Minnesota Wild would be the tipping point. Fans, it seemed, were one poor effort away from killing one another for the contents of their refrigerators. Thankfully, the Canucks staved off a full-scale societal collapse by coming out in this one a little more interested in winning, and they were fortunate to meet a Wild team only to happy to help. The result was a shellacking that will likely quell civil unrest until the team loses again, at which point all the ammo and applesauce I bought will prove quite useful. In the meantime, I watched this game:

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In just under two weeks, PITB will be counting down our top 5 moments of Wizardous Sedinerie from the 2010-11 season, just as we did last year. Solemn guarantee: it’s gonna be a sweet list. While there isn’t a de facto number one this year, that doesn’t mean the Sedins have been scoring boring. They’ve done some mind-blowing stuff this year.

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Make no mistake: the Presidents’ Trophy is a pretty huge deal. Ignore anyone who dismisses it. It matters. Canucks fans have conditioned themselves to say it doesn’t–that only playoff success matters–but, if we’re being honest with ourselves, that’s only because we’ve never even been close to this accomplishment. We’ve steeled ourselves against the Presidents’ Trophy and, heck, the value of regular season dominance, too, because it’s never been within our purview. Now that it is? It feels pretty good. It feels momentous. Is it momentous? I’d say it’s momentous. In last night’s game, the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy. I watched this [momentous] game:

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