Why is one of the Canucks' identical Sedin twins going to the All-Star Game while the other stays home?
This is an article from the Jan. 21, 2008 issue
THE NHL'S hockey operations department has done something that general managers and coaches of the Canucks never have: split up the Sedin twins. The league invited Henrik to his first All-Star Game, on Jan. 27 in Atlanta, but snubbed Daniel. Looks like somebody was trying to get their zygote.
"Announcers only wanted to have to say 'Sedin,'" says NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, "and not have to determine who was who."
Campbell, of course, was joking. Nor did the decision have anything to do with their relative skills or seasons, both creditable and (appropriately) nearly identical. If the red-bearded siblings are almost impossible to distinguish in the locker room—longtime teammates still get confused—consider their numbers on the ice. Through Sunday, Henrik, a center, led Vancouver with 37 assists and 45 points while Daniel, a left wing, topped the Canucks in goals with 21 and was second in points with 44. In 525 career games Daniel had 350 points, three more than Henrik had in 527 matches.
If there's no stark difference between them, for purposes of the All-Star selection there was a stork difference. The NHL wanted to have a Canuck in the game after Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, who'd been voted the Western Conference starter, opted out to be with his wife, Gina, who's in Florida expecting the couple's first child in April. With Daniel's wife, Marinette, also expecting—in this case the couple's second child, who's due on All-Star weekend—Henrik got the call to Atlanta.
"We knew they would probably pick one of us because Roberto said no," says Daniel. "It was a good choice. Henrik's a different player than he was. We relied on each other a lot more the first three or four years, [but] now he can do things for himself. He's a good skater. He'll do fine without me." Perhaps, but Henrik will no doubt feel a strange absence. Since 1997--98, when they were starting out in Sweden, the twins have played virtually every game together (usually as linemates) except when one was injured.
The pair has grown up nicely, thank you, since arriving in the NHL as 20-year-olds in 2000--01. Early in their careers a Vancouver radio personality dismissed them as "the Sedin Sisters," for their aversion to physical contact, but they have become imposing forces in the offensive zone because of an ability to cycle the puck down low, maintaining possession for long stretches. Last season they scored 165 points in 163 combined games, helping Vancouver to its best record (49-26-7) since the franchise was founded in 1970--71.
The playoffs, of course, are a different matter. In 12 games last postseason the twins played more like Danny DeVito than Arnold Schwarzenegger, scoring a mere two goals apiece. That they've never made it as far as a conference final means that All-Star weekend may be the first time the casual hockey fan gets a taste of the Sedins—or at least a Sedin. "Just pretend both are there," Campbell advises, "but that you never see them at the same time."
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