The Canucks went into Boston and took another two points on the road with them on Thursday night, continuing what’s ultimately been a largely successful trip through the Eastern Conference results-wise. Despite having been routinely outshot along the way, they’ve now gained at least a point in 7 of their past 8 games, allowing them to keep pace with the rest of the non-LA Kings Pacific Division teams.
While this particular performance was actually a step-up from their previous showings during that stretch, the win itself seemed immaterial in the grand scheme of things. Taking much of the shine justifiably was Daniel Sedin, who leapfrogged Markus Naslund for sole claim to the franchise’s goal scoring throne.
It goes without saying that in lighting the lamp 373 times to-date (including the playoffs), there have certainly been some notable ones mixed in there that won’t soon be forgotten. Of the bunch, maybe most memorable was the hat trick goal in the final game of the 2009-2010 regular season that helped sew up the Art Ross for his brother in typically remarkable Sedin fashion.
The skill involved in completing the sequence was one thing, but it was the trademark telepathic communication the two of them share that the made it all possible. It’s that timing, positioning, and hockey sense that’s allowed them to continue having leverage over opposing defenders even as their physical abilities have began to progressively deteriorate over time. While each of them possess their own unique skills that surely would’ve played in any environment really, it seems fair to posit that the combination of the two of them was greater than the sum of their individual parts.
The numbers speak for themselves. Since the start of the ’05-’06 season, Daniel Sedin has scored 309 goals. Henrik Sedin has assisted on an astoundingly high 72% of them (using Hockey Reference’s scoring index):
With that in mind, the dichotomy of the scene’s backdrop immediately following the goal itself was jarring. There was Daniel Sedin, celebrating an exemplary career milestone in a place that’s represented a personal haunted house no less, with the person he’s shared such an extraordinarily large number of the stepping stones culminating in that moment nowhere to be found. Instead it was Jared McCann, currently serving as the team’s number one center while Henrik licks his wounds, who was the first to embrace him for an accomplishment that’s been 15 years in the making. There was something incongruous about it. Though given the type of season they’re having as a team I’m sure they’ll take an occasion worthy of genuine elation like this one in any form they can get it.
From the outside, it’s hard not to view all of it as somewhat bittersweet now that we’ve had a few hours to process it. Much like they have since the moment they took the mantle from those that carried it before them the Sedins are doing an admirable job of fighting. Fighting not only on the scoreboard, but also in the way they’re publicly perceived around the league.
When we look back at their careers, what they’re currently doing in their age-35 season by dragging this particular supporting cast kicking and scream towards anything resembling relevance is near the top of their greatest accomplishments. They don’t quite have their fastball every night like they used to, but they’ve come as close to it as anyone could reasonably expect from them at this point in the game. Daniel, in particular, has been a revelation this season by bucking his recent downward spiral as a scorer. With his 21 goals this year he has already shattered his totals from the previous three seasons.
The issue is that regardless of their best efforts, they’re still ultimately toiling away on a team that’s far closer to being at the bottom of the league than the top as currently constructed. That’s something that’s hard to reconcile for a couple of generational talents, spending what could very well be their final truly productive seasons as part of an organization that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. It’s been a joy continuing to watch them play on a nightly basis, but given everything they’ve been and done for the Canucks, you can’t help but feel like they deserve a better fate than this.