According to a report stemming from today’s practice Henrik Sedin is expected to make his return to the Canucks lineup on Saturday night, when the team plays host to the Los Angeles Kings. As you’ll recall he was injured nearly two weeks ago now, when he took an awkward hit to the leg on a play behind the net (which is ironic, since those three words generally elicit such positive thoughts).
The return falls right in-line with the initial prognosis of 2 weeks, but still, there’s ample reason to question why exactly the team would want to bring him back in the first place given the circumstances.
Read on for more.
The Canucks currently have a 0.03% chance of making the playoffs, and as I outlined earlier this week, they’d be well served to lose as many of the final 5 games as possible. It would behoove them even more to make sure that they’re not putting unquestionably their most valuable player in harm’s way for no reason, particularly given the laundry list of bumps and bruises he has piled up in an especially tough campaign for the team’s Captain.
The key words there are “harm’s way”, what with the team the Canucks will be facing when he makes his return. These two squads have had a couple of really outwardly physical games this year, and Henrik Sedin has been at the center of it all. He hasn’t necessarily been the guy throwing the punches, but both the November 25th and January 13th meetings – which featured a combined 189 penalty minutes – all started with dirty runs by one Jordan Nolan on Henrik himself.
Those aren’t the only times that Nolan, who I generally perceive as a fairly scummy player that isn’t nearly good enough to get away with the things he tries to do, has gone after him. It seems like every time these teams play Top Sixtito is dropping the gloves with him as a result, and if I were a betting man, I’d probably wager we see them add another chapter to that rivalry on Saturday night.
With all of that being said, I guess I can see the rationale for bringing Henrik back into the mix if he has in fact said that he’s good to go. Given all of the off-ice drama involving the Coach and GM, it makes sense that the team would try to divert the attention back onto the on-ice product.
Henrik Sedin has made a career of making everyone he plays with better. We know that. But one guy in particular that will be undoubtedly thrilled to see him will be Nicklas Jensen, who has fallen on some hard times recently. This rough patch has by no means come of left field. Which is why I was pretty surprised to see commenters take offense with my insinuations that Jensen would struggle without Henrik there to spoonfeed him in the comments section below the article announcing #33 would miss 2 weeks.
“Soooo…you really are trying to contribute the success of Jensen to the play of Henrik and Burr? Two players who coincidentally struggled right until the moment that Jensen joined that line?” is what one person said, which I responded to with “yes, I am saying that.“
This isn’t meant to blast that person, because he certainly wasn’t alone. The Jensen Train was running rougshod through Vancouver at that time. The point I’m trying to make is that Nicklas Jensen has 6 shots, no goals, and 1 assist in the 4 games Henrik has missed. Some of that has to do with his brief stint down the lineup, some of that has to do with the inevitable slowing down he was due for. But a lot of it was due to the fact that he didn’t have one of the world’s best playmakers around to serve as a safety blanket of sorts.
Let us never forget just how amazingly successful Henrik Sedin is at doing what he does for a living.