Sedin twins understand Canucks guard is changing
Henrik and Daniel Sedin have always embraced their roles.
In the past, there were more minutes, more responsibility and the expectation of being the difference on most nights for the Vancouver Canucks. That’s easy to accept. In the present, it means measured minutes, secondary deployment and contributing when they can as rational, team-first 37-year-old support forwards.
That could be harder to accept, but a changing of the guard is what the Sedins have been preaching for longer than most realize.
They understand what’s at play. The transitional state of the franchise is easier to fathom in the twilight of their careers — and on expiring contracts — because of the lightning speed in the game and how quickly youth is impacting NHL rosters. That isn’t lost on them.
Henrik logged just 13:30 in a season-opening 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday — including 7:49 at even strength — while Daniel played 14:02 and 7:55 at even strength. A year ago in the season-opener, Henrik logged 21:48 and averaged 19:02 for the season while Daniel played 22:18 and averaged 18:23.
What will this mean Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators?
Canucks head coach Travis Green cautioned to not read too much into the Sedins’ ice time because they could play more, but the twins know less ice may mean more production because they’ll be fresher.
“I did not go into the (Saturday) game thinking a player is going to play this many minutes,” said Green. “I want a fourline team where minutes are spread out. There could be nights where they (Sedins) play 18 minutes and nights where they play 14. It’s where the game is at, how they’re playing and the score.” Henrik gets that. “We’ve always said that (ice time) is not going to be a problem this year — we understand the situation and we’re fine with it,” the Canucks captain said Monday. “You’re going to see a lot of guys’ ice time go up and down.
“We always want minutes but we’re old enough to understand where we are as a team. I don’t think they’re interested in us winning and playing 22
minutes. That’s not going to be the case and we’re good with it.”
With the Senators missing injured defencemen Erik Karlsson, Ben Hurper and Johnny Oduya — and recalling prospects Thomas Chabot and Christian Jaros — the Sedins could draw more favourable defensive pairings and do their thing because they’re still effective once they have the puck. Puck retrieval is something else.
“We beat a really good team (Saturday) and if we were down, maybe we would have played a few more minutes,” added Henrik. “And we’re not surprised. We’ve been preparing for this for a few years.” bkuzma@postmedia.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin didn’t see a ton of icetime in Canucks seasonopener, and they’re OK with that.