By now you’re probably up on the fact that the Sedin brothers are good at hockey. If you’re not, well, take off the Chicago Blackhawks coloured blindfold.
The Sedins are my favourite players in the league, and I’m no Canucks fan.
They were damn close to winning back-to-back Hart Trophies. They took their team to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last year. They’re accomplished, and we’re all well aware of that.
But what I love so much about them is that they’re doing what they’re doing entirely differently than any other superstars in the NHL, and differently than anyone I can ever remember watching play.
We tend to minimize what they do because oh, they’re those crazy-looking twins, they’re telepathic! Hahaha.
Of course, they’re not telepathic. They’re just insanely #%&!ing good and crazy smart.
Over the years, Alex Ovechkin has accomplished what he has with sheer power, pedal constantly to the floor. His fastball is better than yours, and he’s gonna bring it up and in. Skates hard, shoots hard, hits hard.
Sidney Crosby does it with golden hands, great vision and dogged determination. He is, through and through, a hockey player. He’s good at everything, and great at most things.
Datsyuk is unique like them, but Zetterberg is just flat-out good at hockey.
It’s having the two of them together that’s so petrifying.
The only other possible duo I can think of that thought the game in a unique way as the Sedins do at the same time would probably be Jari Kurri and Wayne Gretzky, but the I still think these two take the ”unique” factor to the next level.
When you kill penalties, you have certain rotations set up to defend whatever formation your opponent is using. All of these defensive techniques are based on the assumption that players go to certain spots and try to set up certain looks just because that’s what they’ve always done.
It’s almost always some variation of a guy on the wall, one on the goal line and one in front, or – gasp – an umbrella.
But these two go to different soft spots in the offensive zone - holes that other players don’t go because A) their teammates don’t expect them to be there and B) even if they did they couldn’t thread the puck through the eye of the needle to get it to them. So, off to the slot again, I guess.
It’s like they play with clear minds and no pre-sets, which is the opposite of the North American way. We beat “the right decisions” into kids heads from youth hockey on up. Got the puck in the corner? Look to the point. Got it in the neutral zone? Drive it wide or dump it in.
They almost operate within the game without thinking, turned off but still awake like monks, processing nothing but seeing everything.
Or maybe they’re in some hockey Matrix where they took the red pill. I don’t know.
The coolest thing about that is, their teammates (especially Alex Burrows, and especially their powerplay unit) have come to expect it, so now they take the extra second to find the open guy, not just The Guy They’re Supposed To Pass To. It’s opened everyone up creatively.
But enough fawning. Here’s some video:
From last night on the powerplay. There’s not even a guy in the strong side corner for Edler to pass it to. Totally unique.
Daniel drifts to a spot where, if he gets the puck, it’s as good as a goal.
Next, the backhand sauce from Henrik earlier in the season, where Daniel finds the soft spot and cashes in.
Next: really, you’re just gonna dish it back and forth in the slot? (Here’s the link if video doesn’t play)
Yeah, they’re on the same page.
Why else wouldn’t Daniel shoot it here: (Link if video doesn’t play)
This has little to do with my point, but my word:
It’s a different game out there for those two.
It drives me nuts when people talk about the Canucks and say something like “well, they have the Sedins and Kesler, but after that…” or whatever. Them being lumped together all the time devalues them, like having your birthday on Christmas.
If someone says “well, they have Crosby and Malkin” it sounds like a whole lot more than “well, they have the Sedins.” That’s the same amount of super-humans, friends.
We’re privileged to get to watched these guys play. They’re damn special talents.