It was an emotional rollercoaster of a night at Rogers Arena on Thursday as brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin took part in their final home game of their careers after eighteen years in the National Hockey League.
Prior to the game against the visiting Arizona Coyotes, the sold out crowd was asked to turn their attention to the scoreboard above the ice as the Swedish natives were honoured for their many years of dedication and service to both the city and the team.
Daniel and Henrik, both 37 years of age, were originally drafted by the Vancouver Canucks organization back in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft with the 2nd and 3rd picks in the first round overall.
The Sedin brothers announced their retirement on Monday morning with a letter penned together thanking the fans for their outpouring of support a short while before sitting down with head coach Travis Green and general manager Trevor Linden in a mid-day press conference to officially address the media.
As noted by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, the Sedin’s have combined for 2,111 points in 2,634 games over their 17 seasons, including 1,499 points in 1,520 games from 2005 to 2015.
It is most certainly worthwhile noting that when the two first cracked the active roster for their first season on the big league stage, both were criticized early on for being too slow and too soft, however, that only sparked the fire burning within them as they have since persevered to elevate themselves among the NHL’s most dominant players for nearly a decade.
Further more, amongst a long list of achievements both individually and combined, the Sedin’s checked off perhaps their biggest accomplishment back in 2011 when the Canucks won the Western Conference championship after a strong regular season performance that then followed into postseason participation.
Taking a look now at just a few of the major factors that will forever go down into history when the future Hall of Famers hang up the skates for good, Henrik, who has been captain of the team since October 2010, has the ninth-most consecutive games played (679) in the NHL while he also stands as the first player in franchise history to score his 1000th NHL point.
As for Daniel, he is the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer after having surpassed Markus Nasland with his 347th goal back in December of 2016 to break the record that no Canuck since has yet to best him in.
Speaking of which, perhaps nobody could have scripted last night’s affair any better when Daniel Sedin opened the second period with a game-tying goal which started with a pass from Henrik to Edler who then shot it in front to get his club on the board.
The goal was the 392nd of Daniel’s illustrious career while it was also his 22nd of the season scored almost immediately at the 33 second mark.
The Coyotes than came back with a pair of goals buried past netminder Jakob Markstrom, sending the game to the third period with Arizona up 3-1.
A short time after the third and final period commenced, Jake Virtanen scored his 10th of the season, bumping Vancouver up one and things only got better from there as just eight minutes later, Brendan Leipsic, who was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights at the NHL Trade Deadline, scored his 5th of the season, bumping tying the game at 2 of peace and it stayed that way, sending the Sedin’s final game into overtime.
Just two minutes into the extra period of play, the Canucks gained an advantage by getting themselves a power-play and that was when the Sedin’s worked their magic once again as Henrik started the excellence with a pass to Edler once again who got it right into Daniel’s sweet spot as he netted it pass Antti Rantta, closing it out in grand fashion with his 393rd and final NHL goal.
Before an electric crowd unwilling to walk away, the brothers joined one another near the Coyotes bench where the team lined-up to say thank you to two legendary men and for the last time.
After the game, a room-full of local media met Henrik at his locker who was immediately available for post-game reaction and when asked about the environment throughout the night, Henrik, who has been a prolific fantasy producer throughout his career, said, “It’s tough to find the words. Special from warm-up to now. This is a night to remember. Loved the Viking Clap. That was surprising. Hopefully it’s something Canucks fans keep doing.”
In continuation, he went on to say, “It was really nice how things ended…this is a night where, when you get a chance to go through it, it’s once in a lifetime.”
Next was Daniel, a 2006 Olympic gold medallist and 2013 World Champion, who said, “When the fans show up like that, you want to play well for them. We did tonight. I was real tired today, but the crowd was energizing. We fed off that.”
When asked jokingly if he had one more year in him, Sedin said, “No. I saw our kids up on the jumbotron during the game and smiled. I knew we made the right decision.”
In closing, Daniel said, “We are quiet guys who don’t like a lot of attention…but looking back now, we are happy with our decision. We hope the fans are happy, because we’re happy to go out this way.”
As the media made their way around the room for reaction about the brother duo, they made their way over to Troy Stecher who said, “I caught myself smiling and laughing. I was just a fan on the Canucks bench tonight. I couldn’t stop banging my stick on the boards.”
In a short but sweet statement from Alex Edler who followed up the 23-year-old defensemen, he said, “Perfect ending and I’m not surprised. Daniel from Henrik.”
A short time after they finished up in the clubhouse, head coach Travis Green met with the media to review happenings from the night and with regards to the Sedin’s, he said, “I think they appreciated the whole night…I can say confidently they are happy they did it this way and got everything they deserved this week.”
Last night’s overtime victory was the 14th and final time that the Sedin brother pairing combined for an OT game-winner completed by Daniel.
The Canucks finish off their season on Saturday night as they visit the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place for the final Hockey Night In Canada this season.
According to John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca, the Oilers will be rolling out the red carpet as their families will watch the twins’ final game from owner Daryl Katz’s private box.
As the team gets ready to embark on their next chapter, word is that Centreman Bo Horvat will take over as leader in the clubhouse while Brock Boeser is another player who’s presence will become bigger too.
As reporters, players, veterans and fans continue to share their outpouring of emotional reaction through a variety of social media platforms, I would like to add to that by saying on behalf of the staff here at ThePuckAuthority.com, it was a true honour watching the Sedin brothers play and they will be missed around the NHL when next season gets underway.
Tomorrow night’s game is scheduled to get underway at 10pmET and will be available for viewing nationally across Sportsnet and CBC. The game can also be heard on Sportsnet 650 The Fan and TSN 1260.
To bring things to a close, Henrik Sedin has assisted on 14 of his brother’s 16 career regular-season overtime goals and with that, he leads the National Hockey League in most overtime assists with 23.
Daniel, on the other hand, stands tied in third place for most regular-season overtime goals as he has netted 16 while trailing the most by six. Alongside him is Patrick Elias while they jointly sit behind Alex Ovechkin with 22 and Jaromir Jagr with 19.