Henrik Sedin will miss Tuesday’s game, iron man streak ends at 679 games

One of the most impressive aspects of Henrik Sedin’s career is his durability. When you consider the abuse the Sedins regularly take from defencemen, it’s truly remarkable how he has avoided injury in his career. Unlike his brother, who missed 18 games with a broken foot in 2009-10 and a few other games here or there with minor injuries, Henrik hasn’t missed a game since 2004, when he missed 4 games with an abdominal strain.

Henrik has played 679 straight regular season games, second only to Jay Bouwmeester among active ironman streaks. When you include his 75 playoff games in that time, he easily passes Bouwmeester, making his streak even more impressive.

Unfortunately, it will come to an end this week, as he will be held out of Tuesday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

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Breakdowning Daniel Sedin’s wizardous goal against the Washington Capitals

As soon as Daniel Sedin scored the gamewinning goal on Monday against the Capitals, we were inundated with requests on Twitter to breakdown the goal in our typical Breakdowning fashion. They weren’t the only ones: as soon as I saw the goal, I wanted to break it down, because it was just so perfectly representative of Wizardous Sedinery. The Canucks kept the puck in the offensive zone for a full 51 seconds, dizzying the Capitals with their cycle game before a couple short passes and a subtle move by Daniel created a wide open scoring chance.

We intended to have a Breakdowning post up on Tuesday, but circumstances kept pushing it back. Fortunately, three days since it was scored, the goal is still just as gorgeous and absurd. Let’s break it down to see exactly how it came about.

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The Pros and Cons of splitting the Sedins

During Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Canucks were in a bind partway through the third period. Down by one, the Canucks just weren’t able to generate enough chances as the Flyers collapsed into a defensive shell to protect their lead. In an attempt to spark the offence, John Tortorella split the Sedins, moving Ryan Kesler to the wing with Henrik and Chris Higgins and putting Daniel with Mike Santorelli and Jannik Hansen.

The split worked, as Kesler and Higgins helped create room for Henrik with a physical forecheck, resulting in goals for both Higgins and Kesler and a win for the Canucks. It was the second time already in this short season that splitting the Sedins has resulted in a third period comeback, as it also worked against the Calgary Flames.

This has sparked the seemingly annual debate over whether the Canucks should split up the Sedins on a more semi-permanent basis. After all, splitting them so far this season has resulted in two goals per period, so, logically, starting the game with them split should result in 6 goals per game. Not even the 1984 Edmonton Oilers managed that, averaging a measly 5.6 goals per game. That’s right: splitting the Sedins would make the Canucks better than the Oilers dynasty from the 80′s. Tortorella would be a fool not to do it!

Of course, it’s not that simple. We’re pretty big fans of the Sedins being together around these parts, but there are some legitimate arguments for splitting them — well, more legitimate than they’ll score all the goals, at least. Let’s break down the pros and cons in a feature we like to call “Pros and Cons.”

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Alex Burrows and the Sedins are soulmates; break them up at your peril

Alex Burrows will start Game 1 where he’s started so many games in the past: alongside the Sedins. Now, normally, this wouldn’t be all that notable. After all, it’s his usual spot. But John Tortorella entered training camp with a plan to get him off the Sedin line.

Makes sense when you think about it. Burrows’ deployment there was, after all, Alain Vigneault’s big innovation. If you’re angling to exact some kind of major change to the look of your lineup, especially after Mike Gillis opted to keep it mostly the same, roster-wise, then anointing a new third Sedin is definitely one way to make your mark.

But in the end, Tortorella appears to have discovered what Alain Vigneault realized shortly after the pairing came together: Alex Burrows is basically the Sedins’ soulmate.

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On 33rd birthday, Sedins receive Internet’s highest honour: the front page of Wikipedia

Two Canucks share a birthday today. Can you guess which ones? Here’s a hint: one of them is Daniel Sedin. Another hint: the other is not Jannik Hansen.

The Sedins turn 33 today, which seems as good a time as any to reflect on the incredible careers they’ve had. Over 12 NHL seasons, they’ve reaped a great many accolades: back-to-back Art Ross Trophies, a Ted Lindsay Award (for Daniel), a Hart trophy (for Henrik), the Canucks’ franchise scoring lead, gold in the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2013 World Championships, the and even the 2011 Victoriastipendiet, given to the Swedish athlete of the year.

But nothing compared to the accolade they received Thursday: front page of Wikipedia.

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Every Goal, 2012-13: Henrik Sedin

It was a strange season for the Sedins, who have grown accustomed to starting most of their shifts in the offensive zone and focusing mainly on creating offence. Unfortunately, a series of injuries to Ryan Kesler forced them into a more defensive role and slowed up the offensive production of the first powerplay unit. As a result, they didn’t produce quite as much offence as they usually do.

Even still, they still produced some. Henrik Sedin, in fact, scored 11 goals, only three off his total in the 82-game 2011-12 season. But, like I said, it was a weird year, and the way in which these goals were scored gives evidence to that. On several, Henrik and Alex Burrows trade bodies. Two are empty-netters, one of which is shorthanded. One is scored on a Daniel Sedin one-timer with Henrik plying the net-front presence. It’s just wacky, uncharacteristic stuff.

Although there’s still some Sedinery. I know that’s what you’re here for and there’s a definitely a smattering of it in this entry. Enjoy.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Irrefutable proof that Henrik Sedin is not human

Daniel and Henrik Sedin have never seemed quite human and, since their arrival in Vancouver over a decade ago, there has been much speculation that this is due, in large part, to the fact that they aren’t.

There’s never been proof, however. The closest the Sedins have come to acknowledging it was in the summer of 2011, when they visited a local newspaper to do a couple of self-portraits. After completing his head shape, Henrik Sedin remarked, “I look like an alien!”

But now we have something more concrete. Recently, during a routine jaunt through the Getty Images database, I came across this Jeff Vinnick shot from January of 2012. This is it, my friends: the smoking gun. Henrik Sedin is not human.

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What can we learn from the Sedins’ gold medal performance at the Worlds?

It’s easy to make too much of Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s performance at the World Hockey Championships this year, but it’s also easy to make too little of it.

When Daniel and Henrik joined Team Sweden in Stockholm, they made an immediate impact. Sweden was 4-2 prior to the Sedins joining the team and had gone 2-for-31 on the powerplay. With the Sedins in the lineup, Sweden won 4 straight enroute to the gold medal and went 5-for-15 on the powerplay. Daniel scored 6 points in those 4 games, while Henrik went off for 9 points, including 4 goals.

As a result, numerous Canucks fans began wondering why the Sedins couldn’t perform that way for the Canucks. If they could dominate at the international level, why couldn’t they do the same in the NHL?

Here’s the thing: they totally have. And I’m not talking about their Art Ross winning seasons; I’m talking about this last season.

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Sedins, Edler leave World Hockey Championships with gold medals, helmets

Immediately after their elimination from the 2013 NHL postseason (with similar immediacy, even) Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, alongside the madman Alex Edler, accepted the invitation to the World Hockey Championships.

We’ve heard it time and time again: the Worlds mean a very different things for European hockey players. And it’s true. But these Worlds meant even more to the Swedish players, because Sweden wasn’t just a gold medal hopeful — they were the host nation. A win on home ice would make them the first host nation to win the tournament in 27 years, and to underscore how long ago that was, three of the eight nations in that 1986 World Championships — Czechoslovakia, West Germany, and gold medal host the Soviet Union — no longer exist.

On Sunday, Sedin-led Sweden (or Swedin, as it’s known when Daniel and Henrik are in the lineup) got it done, bringing gold to the land of the midnight sun.

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Finnish newspaper publishes paper dolls of the Sedins, complete with dresses

While the World Hockey Championships are a bit of an afterthought in North America, they’re a much bigger deal in Europe. This is particularly true when it comes to the rivalry between Finland and Sweden, which apparently dates back to 1932.

At the 2010 Olympics, Sweden beat Finland 3-0 during the round robin, but was eliminated before Finland could get their revenge. Finland went on to win the bronze medal. They got their re-match, however, at the 2011 World Championships, trouncing Sweden 6-1 in the gold medal game. The long and storied rivalry will continue on Saturday, as the two countries face each other in the semi-finals after Sweden stunned Canada in the shootout on Thursday.

It’s not surprising, then, that Ilta-Sanomet, Finland’s second largest newspaper, would rile up some nationalistic feelings in the Friday edition of their paper. They did this, however, in one of the most regrettable ways possible, publishing paper dolls of Daniel and Henrik Sedin wearing high heels with cut-out dresses to attach to them.

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Sedins, Edler, Jensen, Hamhuis off to Worlds, just like they probably wanted all along

Considering how short the Vancouver Canucks’ 2012-2013 season was in the end — with 34 games lopped off the front part and a piddly, depressing 4 added to the back part — one can understand why a few might be happy to join their respective national teams at the World Championships. These guys were hoping to play somewhere in the vicinity of 100 games this year. Instead, they played about half that.

And thus, it’s off to Scandinavia for several Canucks.

Denmark will get Nicklas Jensen, but not Jannik Hansen, who stays home to recover from an injury. It’s a bummer. They could have used Hansen, especially since he becomes insane the moment he sets foot on international ice. Meanwhile, Team Sweden will get the largest contingent, as you might expect since the Canucks have a lot of Swedes: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alex Edler flew home Friday to don the Tre kronor.

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Examining the Canuck winners and losers of the 2013 trade deadline

It wasn’t a terrible NHL trade deadline for the Canucks. After all, they acquired Derek Roy, a skilled player that adds a very important element to their attack: a centre. They really haven’t had one of those all season.

Still, the 2013 trade deadline won’t be remembered in this city for what Mike Gillis did — it will be remembered for what he didn’t do. A big part of that is because he acquired Roy the day before the deadline, which is like giving a child a present on Christmas Eve. It’s exciting, but there had damn well better be something else under the tree on Christmas. But a bigger part is because Roberto Luongo wasn’t traded, leading to the the most indelible moment of the deadline, when Luongo told the world he had a sucky contract. That’ll stay with us, just like Luongo will.

All of this in mind, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the deadline from a Vancouver perspective.

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Big Numbers: Freaky Sedins, Offensive Hamhuis and Identical Goaltenders

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Here are some odd and interesting numbers and statistics from the Canucks season so far.

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Canucks play keepaway in Dallas; why Kesler prevents that from happening more often (VIDEO)

Henrik Sedin has two goals this season, and neither are a result of the Canucks’ Captain making the choice to shoot. In both instances, Alex Burrows has made the choice for him with late, unexpected return passes that leave Henrik with no room and no choice but to do anything other than put the puck towards the goal.

This is the rub when it comes to the Sedins, and Henrik especially: sometimes you have to force the issue. Henrik Sedin has led the NHL in assists for three years in a row. He’s a pure passer; passing is his jam. If he were on the Price is Right Showcase Showdown, he’d pass twice.

We saw yet another example of Henrik’s pass-first mentality Thursday night when he spearheaded a full, two-minute session of keepaway in Dallas. When the Stars went down a man one second before the two-minute mark, it became apparent to Henrik that, in order to nurse the Canucks’ one-goal lead home, all he and his teammates had to do was maintain possession for 120 seconds. No shooting. All passing. Here’s Henrik living the dream, as the Canucks’ powerplay trolls the Dallas Stars.

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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.

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Which Canuck will be next to score his first goal of the season?

Everybody knows: Henrik is the passer, Daniel is the shooter. Henrik racks up the assists, while Daniel racks up the goals. This has been true throughout their careers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when Henrik goes through a long stretch of games without putting the puck in the net. And yet, with Henrik just one point back from surpassing Markus Naslund’s franchise record of 756 points, there are still rumblings of concern throughout the media and fanbase.

Henrik has yet to score a goal this season, going 11 games without scoring. At this point, he’s one of only five Canucks skaters without a goal this year.

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Zack Kassian isn’t fully benefiting from playing with the Sedins yet

Not long ago, the Canucks’ acquisition of a big power forward with a right-handed shot would have resulted in one reaction from fans: finally, someone to play with the Sedins.

It’s a testament to how well Alex Burrows has played with the Sedins that Canucks fans did not have that reaction when the Canucks traded for Zack Kassian. Instead, Kassian was projected as, at best, a second-line winger on the Canucks, someone to play alongside Ryan Kesler and David Booth. At worst, he could be a physical presence on the fourth line.

But now Kassian has been promoted to play on the top line and the early returns are impressive. Kassian leads the Canucks in goals with 5 in 7 games and is, in fact, tied for second in the NHL in goal-scoring. The thing is, most of that goal-scoring hasn’t exactly come as a result of playing with the Sedins, but there’s reason to believe that he will have success with them in the future.

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What’s behind the Canucks’ poor starts? Severe Kesler deficiency.

The Canucks clearly miss Ryan Kesler right now in every facet of the game. Kesler wins faceoffs, kills penalties, scores on the powerplay, and wins battles against tough opposition, areas where the Canucks are struggling to start the season. But there’s a very specific area where his absence is causing some major problems: the first shift of the game.

A rough start has been the common theme through the first 6 games of the 2013 season for the Canucks, as they frequently seem to get outplayed during the first few minutes and depend on their goaltending to staunch the bleeding until they can turn things around. That first shift of the game is where it all starts.

Some call it “setting the tone,” while I call it “not getting hemmed in your own zone.” Ryan Kesler is excellent at both.

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Oddsmakers have Daniel Sedin among favourites for Art Ross, but not the Hart

I don’t gamble for multiple reasons, first and foremost because I don’t have any money. I do find gambling interesting, however, mainly because it involves legions of people who think they know better than the experts who design the games and set the table odds to ensure that the house always wins.

Sports betting is especially fascinating, as fans always think they have some special insight into the game from the many hours they spend watching it. There’s a lot of money to be made in sports betting, most of it on the side of the casinos and websites, but the knowledgeable bettor can occasionally carve out a small hunk of money for themselves.

So, out of curiosity, I checked Bodog.ca to see what the oddsmakers had to say about the Canucks for this season. And some of their odds don’t make any sense in reality, but make perfect sense when it comes to gambling.

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The trade value of Henrik Sedin, the 10th best playmaker in NHL history

NHL.com recently ran a feature listing the 10 best playmakers in NHL history. As is the case with most of these lists, there’s plenty of room for debate. John Kreiser put together a pretty decent list, though it’s missing such luminaries as Ron Francis (second all time in assists) and Marcel Dionne (ninth all time). In place of these historically great playmakers, Kreiser put more recent stars, like Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton.

And Henrik Sedin.

Kreiser has Henrik ranked as the 10th best playmaker in the NHL all time, ahead of Francis, Dionne, and other great playmakers throughout NHL history, like Joe Sakic, Doug Gilmour, and Paul Coffey.

So here’s a question: would you trade Henrik Sedin for Ryan Getzlaf, straight up? Or Loui Eriksson? Or John Carlson?

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Every Goal 2011-12: Playoffs

You didn’t think we could end the Every Goal series on such a positive note with Chris Higgins, right? You should know by now that things can never end well for Canucks fans. That is why the last post in our annual off-season Every Goal series will end with all 8 goals the Canucks managed to score during the 2012 playoffs versus the Los Angeles Kings.

On the plus side, we’re only looking back at the good parts, when the puck was going into the Kings’ net. If you squint and ignore the scoreboard, you can imagine that the Canucks won the series. While you’re at it, imagine that the NHL and NHLPA have concluded their CBA negotiations and that there won’t be a lockout to start next season.

In any case, the Canucks scored some pretty goals during the playoffs and they deserve to be remembered and highlighted. Seeing them outside of their disappointing context makes them a lot more enjoyable.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Henrik Sedin, part two

On Wednesday, we looked at the first seven goals of Henrik’s 2011-12 season and noted that they weren’t particularly wizardous. Well, don’t worry folks. Henrik just saved all the magic for part two. There are some absolute beauties in this batch of seven, including arguably the best goal of the season. Even the ugly rebound goals are beatified in some way.

Henrik gets a lot of flack for not scoring more often, most of it undeserved considering his role as a playmaker, but these goals makes me wish that he did score more often: they’re just so dang pretty. I want him to score like this all the time.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Henrik Sedin, part one

The wonderful thing about looking at all the goals scored by a single player over the course of the season is that the tendencies that emerge will sometimes surprise you. Last year, I was surprised to see that Henrik’s goals were far more aesthetically pleasing than Daniel’s goals. While Daniel had the quantity, Henrik had the quality, which legitimately caught me off guard.

This last season, both the quality and the quantity dropped off for Henrik. He scored 14 goals during the 2011-12 campaign, his lowest total in five seasons, with many of them being ugly rebounds and deflections where he was just in the right spot at the right time. That’s not to say that there was no wizardry to any of his goals this season, just that there was often a gap in between the wizardry and the goal that was filled with ugly.

There’s definitely something to be said for ugly goals, of course, which is why I’m about to say something about the first 7 goals of Henrik Sedin’s 2011-12 season.

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Breakdowning Henrik’s 3rd period goal from Game 4

The return of Daniel Sedin on Wednesday was expected to have a trickle-down effect on the Canucks lineup, but Alain Vigneault wasn’t content to just put things back the way they were. He put David Booth, who had just one goal in his last 14 games, with the twins and put Dan Hamhuis on the point of the powerplay instead of returning Sami Salo to his usual spot.

Both turned out to be good decisions: Booth picked up the primary assist on Kevin Bieksa’s gamewinning goal by using his speed to back off the defence, giving Bieksa plenty of room to shoot, while Hamhuis set up Alex Edler on the opening goal on the powerplay.

Both Booth and Hamhuis played a major role in Henrik Sedin’s insurance marker in the third period as well. I had an insurance marker once. It was a felt pen from where my parents bought insurance. It wasn’t as nice as Henrik’s goal.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Calgary Flames, April 5, 2012

With the New York Rangers’ loss in Pittsburgh, the Canucks found themselves in a position to take a stranglehold on the Presidents’ Trophy race with a single point. And, after the second period ended with the boys in blue up one, it looked like they had it in the bag. The last time this team failed to collect at least one point when leading after two periods was in October of 2009.

But the Canucks let the cat out of the bag, allowing three third-period goals and watching their stranglehold evaporate. On the bright side, what were the Canucks doing trying to strangle a cat in a bag? How incredibly inhumane. Gosh, thank goodness the Canucks blew this lead. I’d hate for them to be responsible for the death of a cat. I love cats. I watched this game.

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