Kessel responds to spotlight, Henrik Sedin shines in shadows
Two players caught my eye as I traversed Canada last week. One has managed to exceed the hype surrounding his arrival, while the other has put together a stunning start to the season with relatively little fanfare.
In the case of
So, with that buildup and backdrop, Kessel joined a team that won exactly one game without him. Since his insertion into the lineup, the Leafs have rolled to a 11-7-3 record, with Kessel netting 12 goals and adding eight assists. The confluence of his coming into the lineup and the Leafs getting stronger at playing coach
Hard to argue with the results. And Burke should know. His coveted scorer is also a strong candidate for Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. The city is ramping up for the Games and as Canucks' captain
Despite being a nearly a point-per-game producer for the past five seasons, Henrik Sedin doesn't seem to draw the accolades that other premier playmakers such as
This year, though, Henrik carried the Canucks offensively while brother Daniel recovered from a broken ankle. Henrik scored more than usual, a byproduct of necessity with Daniel sidelined. As of this writing, Henrik is tied with
At the heart of it is Henrik's ability to hold the puck and pass in tight spaces. It is a special skill, but maybe too subtle for star status via highlight footage. You have to pay attention to notice Henrik Sedin's brilliance.
We all should.