Interview with Henrik Sedin

Thomas Drance
August 18 2011 10:12AM

Editors Note: Jonatan Lindquist is a Swedish sports journalist working at Allehanda.se, an Ornskoldsvik based media site. He caught up with both Henrik and Daniel Sedin a few weeks ago, and provided us with an English translation of his interview with Henrik. I've made some minor formatting changes, and cleaned up the translation here and there, but the tweaks were minor. We're pleased to host his work here, and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him in the future: 

The Canucks recordbreaking season in 2010/11 ended in disappointment for Henrik Sedin. Losing in the finals brought back twelve year old memories: “it’s like the finals in 1999 with Modo. They will always stay with you, until you win yourself,” says Henrik Sedin.

The similarity is striking. After a recordbreaking regular season the team advances all the way to the final. What seemed to be a sure victory ended with a loss. “You don’t think about it all the time, but when you watch a Stanley Cup- or SEL-final you look back on the chance you had. The loss stays somewhere in the back of your head. It pops up when you watch teams win finals, the memories comes back and they always will until you win something yourself.”

Though the season almost ended with Henrik receiving the Stanley Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, we all know that’s not how it turned out. Henrik Sedin believes that the experience gained in the playoffs this year well help the team reach the ultimate prize. “We’ve learned that the playoffs are unbelievably tight. We won the President’s Trophy by a pretty good margin, and still we had to face the reigning champions in the first round. They had a tough year, with a lot of injuries, but got all the players back for the playoffs.”

“Then we faced Nashville, a really tough team to play with a really great goalie, and then San Jose, a team that has been good for years. You learn that there is no easy road to the finals.”

Henrik believes that Vancouver’s chances to make the finals are good again this year. “It’s looking good. Sure, we lost Ehrhoff but we have a very deep defense with a lot of great guys that didn’t got ice time. A guy like Alex Edler can step up, he was injured a lot last season but he is our best D-man.”

We meet Henrik in the gym at Fjällräven Center, the arena in Modo. He has just finished a work out with brother Daniel, and the twins are both sweating profusely. The hunt for new, positive Stanley Cup Finals memory has already started. “You work out as hard as you can, but it is hard to improve that much, it’s a percent here and there. But there are areas of my play that can be improved.”

“My shot can be much better even though I think it’s improved the last couple of years. I have scored around 20 goals per season, with an unusual 29 top-season. Around 20 is where I should be.”

Henrik Sedin talks about his first season as Captain for a team in one of the biggest hockey markets in the world. “It has been interesting, that is probably the right word. I was in Vancouver for many years when Markus was captain, so I got to see that as long as you are the person you are, it will work out fine. They don’t choose you because they want you to change and become someone else, they choose you for how you are. It’s easier because me and Daniel have always lived with the pressure, the expectations to produce points. After one or two games without points the talk and the criticism starts. So it’s nothing extra now.”

The captainship and the fact that he is one of the best players in the world playing in Vancouver provides Henrik with little, to no privacy. The summer in Ornskoldsvik, however, is totally different. “It’s nice to get away from hockey. Just laying by the water, swimming and sauna. Just not doing much, relaxing and not feeling any pressure. It’s different in Vancouver. If a couple of people look at you on the street here in Ornskoldsvik, it’s a thousand in Vancouver.”

Henrik has grown accustomed to the publicity even though he’d rather be without it. “I dont play hockey for the attention. Me and Daniel have flown a bit under the radar since we developed so late, and that is nice.”

I point out that there have been a lot of people doubting him and Daniel along the way, and ask if their recent success feels like revenge. “No, I never had that “in your face”-feeling,” Henrik answers, “But it’s been a long road for us. There a lot of players breaking in to the league now who becomes stars immediately - like Ovechkin. People maybe expected us to do the same thing but it’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work for us. In a way, you appreciate the success when you reach it at age 29, and not 19-20. And I guess a lot of people are surprised that we are where we are now.”   

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Herbert Vasiljevs
August 18 2011, 10:35AM
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It's interesting that he listed Alex Edler as their best d-man. There's probably a Swedish-bias to consider, but I like the fact that he said Edler can step up. He's a vital player this year for the Canucks. From a talent perspective, Edler's probably the best blueliner - but Hamhuis was pretty clearly the most effective guy last season.

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#3 rsm
August 18 2011, 11:26PM
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Just as an fyi:

"“Then we faced Nashville, a really tough team to play with a really great goalie, and then San Jose, a team that has been good for years. You learn that there is no easy road to the finals.”

Henrik believes that Vancouver’s chances to make the finals are good again this year. “It’s looking good. Sure, we lost Ehrhoff but we have a very deep defense with a lot of great guys that didn’t got ice time. A guy like Alex Edler can step up, he was injured a lot last season but he is our best D-man.”"

As far as I can tell the quoted bits aren't in the original article. They are probably bits that were cut out for the Swedish newspaper edition so you'd have to ask the author about the exact intent/emphasis of the phrase.

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#4 Sean Zandberg
August 18 2011, 11:40PM
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I agree with Hank that Edler is the best defenceman on the team. I do think he should strive for more than 20 goals though. He overpasses too much.

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