Northwest: Sedins looking to get offensive for Canucks

By Blake Benzel

Photo: Along with his brother Henrik, Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin looks to get his offensive game going again heading into the playoffs (courtesy of

Kathleen Hinkel/Icon SMI)

There’s no secret that the Sedin Twins are the stars of the show up in British Columbia. With two Art Ross Trophies, a Hart Memorial Trophy, a Ted Lindsay Trophy and three First-Team All-Star nominations between them, its fairly plain to see that Henrik and Daniel are pretty important to the success of the Canucks.

It was always thought, however, that the Canucks weren’t dependent on them for their success. Over their last 11 games, however,that theory is being put to the test.

On Feb. 18, the twins combined for one goal and eight points against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 11 games since then, Henrik has a goal and three assists with a minus-two rating and Daniel has three goals and two assists with a minus-three rating – hardly All-Star caliber numbers.

During that stretch, the Canucks are 5-4-2, which is hardly a cause for concern when your team is 16 points ahead of their closest division foe. What is cause for concern, though, is the Canucks’ offense over this span.

Over this 11-game stretch, the Canucks have averaged 2.36 goals per game – down considerably from their 3.01 average on the season – and they have scored more than three goals in a game just twice.

Most teams in this situation might be pressing the panic button. For the Canucks, though, it’s just another bump in the road of a season whose road has been filled with potholes.

We’ve got time left to get to a peak level,” Henrik told the Vancouver Sun. “It’s not worrisome. A lot of guys are playing good.”

The optimism coming from their mouths is admirable, but the fact is that the Sedins’ offensive absence is affecting the whole team.

Ryan Kesler has just three goals and three assists in that same 11 game span. Alex Burrows, one goal and five points. Alexander Edler, three goals and one assist, not to mention a minus-five rating over that time. In fact, over this 11 game span, the Canucks’ most consistent offensive contributor has been Chris Higgins.

The Canucks’ scoring woes, especially on the Sedins’ level, is reaching dangerous levels and it even has Alain Vigneault searching for other answers, like splitting the twins up like he did to start the third period in Vancouver’s 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Again, though, the message coming from both of the twins was the same.

I think it was a message,” Daniel told reporters following the game, while Henrik echoed the message, saying, “[Vigneault] has got to do something. It’s been a while now where we haven’t produced.”

Sending a message is right. In the third period of that game, Henrik played just 3:21 while Daniel logged a little more, playing 3:49.

Sure, some of that can be attributed to the fact that the Canadiens had some power play time during the period (the Sedins don’t kill penalties for Vancouver) but, even so, it’s a message to both of the Sedins that they need to play better.

Hopefully for Vancouver, it’s a message that is well-received.

Northwest Division Notebook

Sven Baertschi made an impact in his second NHL game, scoring the opening goal in a wild third period in Minnesota and taking three shots. … The Minnesota Wild are going to host Minnesota North Stars night on Mar. 29. More than 30 North Stars alumni will be on hand, including Neal Broten, J.P. Parise and more. … Avalanche forward Matt Duchene is expected to be out three to four weeks with an ankle injury sustained in the Avalanche’s 7-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Duchene had just returned from a knee injury on Feb. 19.