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Vancouver Canucks: 5 Reasons the Sedin Twins Are Actually Underrated

Carol SchramFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2012

Vancouver Canucks: 5 Reasons the Sedin Twins Are Actually Underrated

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    If an alien landed on earth and took an interest in pro hockey, it is likely that after some quick observation, he would conclude that the Vancouver Canucks' Daniel and Henrik Sedin are pretty special players.

    In addition to being the most successful identical twins in NHL history, they've wracked up a pretty impressive collection of achievements so far in their careers:

    • 1997-98—co-recipients of "Golden Puck" Swedish player of the year award with Modo in their rookie pro season
    • 1999 NHL draft—chosen second and third overall
    • 2006—Olympic Gold Medal with Sweden
    • 2010 Hart Trophy for Henrik—most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association
    • 2010 Art Ross Trophy for Henrik—NHL leading scorer
    • 2011 Ted Lindsay Award for Daniel—most valuable player as voted by the players
    • 2011 Art Ross Trophy for Daniel—NHL leading scorer
    • 2011—reached Game 7 of Stanley Cup Finals
    • three All Star Game appearances for Henrik, two for Daniel

    Despite all their accolades, the Sedins are still criticized in many circles. Early in their careers, they were nicknamed the "Sedin Sisters" due to their tendency to get easily knocked off the puck. As recently as 2010, Chicago's Dave Bolland incited a furor when he perpetuated the old myth.

    Maybe it's their mild-mannered personalities. Maybe it is the Howdy Doody identical-twin thing. Or maybe it's the fact that they play on the west coast and don't get seen enough out east in prime time. Whatever the reason, in the prime of their careers the Sedins are still underrated. Here are five reasons why they deserve more respect.

    Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @pool88

Great Bang for the Buck

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    Over the past 30 years, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the only other franchise in the NHL with more than one Art Ross trophy winner on their roster. Recently, Malkin has done it twice and Crosby once, while Jagr and Lemieux racked up a score of wins back in the 90s.

    The Canucks are the only team since those Jagr/Lemieux Penguins to feature two different players leading the league in scoring in two consecutive years. Henrik did it first in 2010 while Daniel missed a good chunk of the season with injury. Then Daniel followed up, winning in 2011.

    CapGeek.com reports that current scoring champion Malkin is making $9 million this year, the same as 2007 winner Sidney Crosby and 2008's Alex Ovechkin. Seems like a pretty clear 'going-rate'.

    Daniel and Henrik make $6.1 million each—about the same as what Zach Parise made this year *before* his big free-agent payout. About the same as Mike Cammalleri. Their contract terms are most similar to Paul Stastny, who has signed for the same term but at $500,000 a year more.

    No knock on Paul Stastny, but who has made a bigger contribution to his team over the last three seasons?

    The twins' desire to play together means they need to be respectful of their team's salary-cap issues, since two superstars cost more than one. Daniel and Henrik signed their five-year deals with the Canucks in 2009 when they were on the verge of free agency. They took the 'home-town discount' because they believed in their team, but also because they wanted to ensure enough financial flexibility for the Canucks to do right by the rest of the roster.

    The Sedins have been criticized for a lot of things, but never have said to be in it for the money.

Durability

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    How can the Sedins be soft when they almost never miss games due to injury?

    In his eleven NHL seasons, Daniel Sedin has played a total of 859 regular-season games. That's an average of 78 per year.

    He has had some back issues from time to time, but has really suffered only two significant injuries—a broken foot that caused him to miss 18 games in 2009-10, and the concussion from Duncan Keith's elbow that knocked him out of the last 10 games of this season.

    Henrik's stats are even more impressive. He's played a total of 892 games, for an average of just over 81 a year. That means that Henrik has missed just 10 games in his entire NHL career—4 in 2002-03 and 6 in 2003-04.

    He hasn't missed a single game since the lockout—seven seasons—and is currently in second place on the current NHL Ironman list to Jay Bouwmeester, with 581 consecutive regular-season games played. That also puts him seventh on the NHL's all-time Ironman list.

    Every player endures bumps and bruises over the course of a hockey career. It is a testimony to Daniel and Henrik's conditioning and mental toughness that they've been able to stay so healthy.

Franchise Cornerstones

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    The very fact that the Sedins were drafted second and third in 1999 tells you that when they first became Canucks, the franchise was a mess.

    The Canucks were in the second year of their Mark Messier era, with Mike Keenan behind the bench. They finished last in the Western Conference with a record of 23-47-12 for 58 points, and missed the playoffs for the third straight year. Goaltending duties were split between Corey Hirsch, Garth Snow and Kevin Weekes, and the leading scorer was a 25-year-old Markus Naslund, with 66 points.

    The Sedins stayed with Modo in Sweden for their first year after being drafted, and the Canucks missed the playoffs again.

    In their first year with Vancouver, the tide started to turn. The twins were not major contributors in their first couple of seasons, and their skating was their biggest weakness. Still, in their rookie season the Canucks made the playoffs for the first time in five years.

    In their eleven years with the Canucks, they've missed the post-season just twice. The past four years have brought four Northwest Division titles, two Presidents' Trophies, a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals and numerous other franchise records and achievements.

    The greater the Sedins' accomplishments and contributions, the greater the success of the franchise.

Philanthropy

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    The Vancouver Canucks have an active presence in their community, and the Sedins have always done their part. They participate in the team's visits to the Canuck Place hospice, lend their faces to initiatives like Jeans Day for BC Children's Hospital and also play in celebrity golf tournaments.

    Daniel and Henrik made a name for themselves as philanthropists of the first order after signing their $30 million free agent contracts in 2009. In addition to accepting less than market value, a few months later they announced that, along with their wives, they were donating $1.5 million to BC Children's Hospital.

    It was highly impressive to see such a generous gesture to a worthy cause in their adopted home. For Canucks fans, that sealed the deal—Daniel and Henrik are really good guys.

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

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    This video does a good job of capturing part of what makes the Sedins so special as a unit.

    There is no doubt that they are great players on their own. But when you add in the fact that they know each other so well and have such a strong commitment to improving their game, fans see things from the Sedins that they won't see very often in the NHL.

    Daniel and Henrik have been making their linemates better since they played with Jason King back in 2003-04. Subsequent linemates have included Anson Carter, Taylor Pyatt, Steve Bernier and most recently, Alex Burrows—many of whom have enjoyed some of their greatest NHL success riding shotgun.

    While Daniel and Henrik insist that their teamwork comes simply from having played so many games together, Burrows disagrees. As he says in the video, "They communicate like dolphins."

    For fans who know what the Canucks Captain and his twin-brother Assistant are capable of, they call the phenomenon Sedinery. And there has never been anything like it in the National Hockey League.

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