March 20, 2023
Daniel and Henrik Sedin discuss NHL careers prior to Hall of Fame induction

Daniel and Henrik Sedin discuss NHL careers prior to Hall of Fame induction

He said he gave a speech to the Canucks prior to the 2000-01 season, the Sedins’ first season in the NHL, laying out the team’s rules. One rule was that newcomers should be seen, not heard.

“So I reached out to these two,” Burke said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to hear anything [gosh-darned] Message from you both.’ They kept that promise for four years.”

Burke urged her to speak on Saturday.

Burke is now president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. He interviewed the Sedins at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference in Toronto ahead of their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

The most interesting parts of the 25-minute conversation looked at the early days of their careers before they won Olympic gold for Sweden in 2006, Henrik won the NHL title and MVP award in 2009-10 and Daniel won the NHL title in 2010-11.

[RELATED: Henrik Sedin proved Canucks right en route to Hall of Fame]

Did you know that the always quiet, polite twins grew up next to a factory that made tanks in Ornsköldsvik, Sweden?

“Peace Tank,” Daniel said with a smile.

Did you know they have two big brothers – Stefan, six years older, and Peter, four years older – who played ice hockey and soccer?

“It really made us want to play with them,” said Henrik. “I think that’s what pushed us to push ourselves to be good.”

Did you know – or maybe you remember – that they went through rough times in their first seasons in the NHL?

“Yeah, it wasn’t easy,” Daniel said. “Obviously high expectations of high draft picks.”

When they came to North America, the Sedins lacked strength. What they did have, however, was a soccer background and excellent cardiovascular conditioning. If they couldn’t defeat their opponents, they would try to outlast them.

“If we were in the offensive zone for more than 20 seconds, we knew the other team would tire and we would have our chance to score, and I think that’s how we survived for so long,” Henrik said. “Our conditioning was better than most people’s.”

What they also had was intelligence, not to mention unusual chemistry as twins. The face-off games for which they became famous initially arose out of necessity.

“I think that’s something we had to do early on,” Daniel said. “We weren’t physically strong enough to play with the big players and we had to think of other things that we could use to our advantage. The face-off was one of them.”

Henrik called Daniel “the bully hero”. He said Daniel would come into the dressing room during the break and draft “a weird faceoff”. They would review it with their teammates and run it in the following period.

“We often met,” said Henrik. “That gave us a lot of extra goals.”

“I always ended up scoring a goal,” added Daniel with a smile.

The cycle games that the Sedins are famous for mostly came later, having spent the 2004/05 season in Sweden and returning to North America older and more physically developed.

“Riding the deep down was something we always wanted to do, but in the beginning we couldn’t because of our power issues,” said Daniel. “I think that’s one thing after the lockout, when we came back stronger we were able to do those things.”

Burke said he praised Marc Crawford, the Canucks’ coach from 1998-2006, for helping the Sedins in their early NHL seasons. The twins too.

“I think Marc saw something in us and believed in us,” said Daniel. “He kept pushing us and I think he taught us what it means to be professional.”

Henrik said Crawford taught them to play defense first.

“Maybe we didn’t play the way people expected us to but I think he taught us how to win games and that’s with defence,” said Henrik. “From there we could start production and be more complete players.”

Video: NHL Stars Ponder Introducing Sedin Brothers HHOF

Losing the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins haunts the Sedins. The Canucks blew series leads of 2-0 and 3-2. They won each of their first three home games by a goal but lost three away games with an aggregate score of 17-3. Eventually they lost 4-0 at home in Game 7.

“I wish we had done something on the road that would have made us win one of the away games,” said Daniel.

Henrik said the Canucks should have ended the series in Game 6.

“Not even having a chance to steal a game on the street, I think that hurt us,” said Henrik. “Going into Game 7 is a toss-up. You fly there after the game. You come home. You see all the fans walking down the street just expecting you to win. I’m not going to say it’s an advantage to play Game 7 at home, especially in a Canadian market.”

Henrik said everyone would trade their scoring title for a championship.

But here they are, 23 years after they were inducted together, inducting into the Hockey Hall of Fame together. In Canucks history, Henrik ranks first in games played (1,330), assists (830), and points (1,070), and seventh in goals scored (240). Daniel ranks first in goals (393) and second in games played (1,306), assists (648), and points (1,041).

“This is really special,” Burke said. “[It’s one thing] for every player who goes into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but as identical twin brothers? Wow. Great.”

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