Sedins get Canucks to Cup semifinals
It took Daniel and Henrik Sedin 10 years to make it to the Western Conference finals with the Vancouver Canucks.
Along the way the identical twins have collected plenty of personal accolades, including the last two NHL scoring titles; Henrik's Hart Trophy as league MVP last year; and a nomination for Daniel to make it a Sedin repeat this season.
But the brothers know their legacy in Vancouver will remain incomplete until they can take another step in the playoffs, both personally and as a team.
''It means nothing,'' Daniel said of the conference finals. ''We play to win the whole thing.''
Older brother Henrik wasn't as dismissive about finally making the NHL's final four, especially for a franchise that has done it only three times in 40 years, and not since 1994.
So as the Canucks waited to find out whether they will meet San Jose or Detroit - those teams will play a decisive Game 7 on Thursday - when the conference finals start Sunday, the captain said there was some satisfaction in finally being a part of it.
''We know we have more to do, but it's been 17 years since the franchise has been this far and to be part of it is exciting,'' Henrik said. ''Both me and Danny now have done special things in the regular season and that means a lot, for sure. But if we don't get past the second round during the time we've been here I don't think people are going to remember us as great players.''
Getting to the Stanley Cup finals would change that.
Vancouver still celebrates the 1994 run, which ended with a Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers, as the franchise's greatest moment. Henrik played with Trevor Linden, captain of that 1994 team, and knows what it means to the city and the Sedin's legacy.
The twins have made the playoffs eight times in 10 years, starting as complementary players and evolving into first-liners. But they've been knocked out in the second round four times, including three of the last four seasons, when they were being counted on as offensive leaders.
''If we had been here three or four or five more years and never been past the second round, we've had good careers, but nothing more,'' Henrik said.
To make the next step as a team, the Canucks will need more from the Sedins.
After combining for 395 points over the last two regular seasons, the twins have totaled 19 in 13 games these playoffs. More telling after being among the NHL leaders in plus/minus the last two years, they are both minus-8 this postseason. They managed just two goals - Henrik's was into an empty net - seven points and a minus-10 rating against Nashville, but combined on Daniel's winning power-play goal in the first period of a 2-1 win in Game 6 Monday.
''This is playoffs; everything that's done so far you put it behind you,'' Henrik said. ''It's a new series and it's up to every player to make a difference.''
Henrik pointed out most of the damage was done in Game 5, when the twins combined to go minus-7.
All four players made available after a second straight day off the ice wouldn't say whether they wanted to face San Jose or Detroit in the next round. But either way the Sedins are happy to be past a tighter-checking Nashville team.
''They both more like to score goals and maybe open things up a little bit,'' Henrik said of the Sharks and Red Wings, adding his only Game 7 wish was for it to be a long one. ''We're hoping 10 periods.''
As for the importance of finally making the conference finals, teammate Maxim Lapierre has some advice for the Sedins. He was part of the underdog Montreal squad that made it to the East finals last season before losing to Philadelphia. He doesn't remember last year's playoff run for the accomplishment. Lapierre only remembers the disappointment of not taking the next step.
''It's pretty tough when you come that far and get kicked out,'' he said. ''You dream as a kid to win a Stanley Cup and when you are that close it is a tough moment. You want to make sure the guys realize it doesn't happen every year.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin are already very aware of it.