Stars fade, but Legends retire: Sedin Edition
By: Connor Jung
To my surprise, the Sedins received a global ovation across the entire hockey world last week. They were never my favourite players — the Sedins also never garnered the same cache of other NHL superstars in their primes It’s dawning on me, now, how much I took them for granted. Maybe it was because they were so homogeneous, interchangeable and... polite. Nonetheless, those qualities are what pushed Henrik and Daniel Sedins to be such elite players. That’s because what they accomplished, they did together, and proved to us all that teamwork trumps individual skill. While neither possessed dynamic skill, together with their collective hockey sense and chemistry, the Sedins made even the best defences look foolish.
What these two players are going to leave behind is a series of iconic snapshots in Vancouver hockey lore. From the West Coast Express era, to dazzling regular season Sedinery, scoring titles, and the Magical 2011 run, they leave behind a legacy. Starting off as the line that ran shotgun to the “Bertuzzi, Naslund, Morrison” line, the moment I thought they popped was during the Marathon game 1 in the first round of the 2007 NHL playoffs when Henrik scored in quadruple overtime goal -- assisted by none other than Daniel. It just seemed like every passing season they got better, and better and better.
Their game was predicated on puck possession, and skill before the rest of the league caught on. The moment they told the league they were ready to contend for a championship and showed the emotional leadership was against the Los Angeles Kings in 2010 with yet another goal from the soon to be captain.
Most hockey fans in Vancouver will reference 2011 as the best year in franchise history -- while the Canucks had been to the Finals on two prior occasions, there was a sense of destiny surrounding that team. Ultimately, the Sedins and the rest of the Canucks fell short of the ultimate goal, and a few shorts years later the team’s core began to part ways. The one constant was the Sedins; they wanted to help rebuild the franchise from the ground up, be a model of consistency and wouldn’t relinquish the torch in till it was ripped away from them. They held on until the very end, Daniel tied for the team lead in points in his final year.
That torch was passed Thursday Night, as Henrik and Daniel sat on the bench in the 3rd period in a 3-1 deficit, to see two young emerging Canucks in Brendan Leipsic and Jake Virtanen lead a comeback that the Sedins so often commanded. Capped off with a walkoff Overtime winner by Daniel Sedin, assisted by Henrik and Alex Edler and closing the book on their careers in Vancouver.
Personally, they made a huge impact during in my life, the lockout season of 2012-2013, when they came to one of my practices back in Minor Hockey. A couple interviews here and there, but no big camera crews or entourages, they were there because they wanted to surprise a bunch of 15 to 17 year-olds.
The game of hockey teaches you so much.Everything parents and coaches want their kids to take away from the game are personified by what Henrik and Daniel represented. They are two incredible roles who deserve to retire on their own terms, because stars can fade but legends retire.