Joe Thornton, Marian Gaborik, Henrik Sedin, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin.
Who among this list doesn't fit?
These are the top five, in order, players in the NHL scoring race at this point. Why is it, then, that Henrik Sedin still looks as if he doesn't belong? Why is it so hard for him and brother Daniel to gain recognition around the league?
Is it due to their style of play? Rather than feed off the rush like many of the other players mentioned above, the Sedins prefer to cycle the puck in the corner before eventually driving the puck to the net.
Is it due to the time zone they play in? All of those other names play in the Eastern Conference, save for Joe Thornton who made a name for himself in Boston before coming to the West Coast. Whatever it is, it's time for the rest of the league to take note that Henrik Sedin has arrived.
There is no better example then Vancouver's last game against Minnesota. Henrik made three highlight reel passes that ended up in the back of the net. Since Daniel returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with a foot injury, the Canucks top line of Burrows-Sedin-Sedin has combined for 27 points in their last five games. In comparison, San Jose's line of Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, and Patrick Marleau has combined for 11 points in the same amount of time.
What does it take for these guys to get noticed?
For years the Sedins have been considered good players, but have been criticized for not being "first line forwards" and "unable to carry a team." Last season they had identical 82 point years, dispelling the notion that they couldn't score consistently.
The next criticism was that they couldn't perform in the play-offs. Again, both players answered the bell, each playing at a point-per-game rate during Vancouver's run to the second round. They were also criticized for being too reliant on each other. Critics claimed that they couldn't be as effective without both of them on the ice.
This year, when Daniel went down with an injury, Henrik played without his brother for a significant period of time for the first time in his professional career. He quietly kept performing, going a point-per-game during his brother's 18 game absence. Every time they get questioned they answer the bell, and if Henrik can keep up his current scoring pace, there will be little left for him to prove.
It's time for the rest of the NHL to wake up and welcome Henrik Sedin into the elite tier of superstars in the league. He may not have Joe Thornton's size, Marian Gaborik's blazing speed, Sidney Crosby's star appeal, or Alex Ovechkin's flashiness, but Sedin is a legitimate superstar in this league, and it's about time he started getting recognition for it.
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