It never made sense to me. Of all the post-game show gripes about the Vancouver Canucks over the years, the callers raking the Sedins always left me shaking my head. I just never got where those people were coming from. I understand they’ve never been able to get their hands on the Stanley Cup — and if people want to hold that against them, fine. It’s a point that can’t be argued.
But the ones — and they’re out there — who truly believe that the Sedins are somehow holding the Vancouver Canucks back, clearly don’t watch the game very carefully. Last night’s performance was ridiculously good (4 goals & five assists). And for Daniel and Henrik to do what they’re doing while the next wave of Canucks scorers (Bo Horvat and Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen) all had a front row seat for a performance like that is immeasurable.
For the past few seasons, I have been steadfast in my belief that through the expiry of their current contracts, the Sedins will be the scoring leaders for the Vancouver Canucks. I think they are — and will remain — solid point producers for a few more seasons. And I just don’t see anyone surpassing their offensive output before those deals are up.
And with the point parade last night, it’s unbelievable to look around the National Hockey League and once again see Daniel tied for sixth in scoring (22 points) and Henrik (20) not far behind. Further to that, of the 196 players in the National Hockey League over the age of 30 so far this season, exactly two have two reached 20 points. This is the 30+ set we’re talking about. Not 35+. If you’re going to have veterans leading the way, you may as well have the best in the business and so far this season the Sedins have once again shown that among their peers they are at the top of the heap.
*Ryan Miller was not perfect on Saturday. But for a change he didn’t have to be. Miller allowed three Chicago goals on 29 shots. But for the first time in nearly a month, the Canucks provided him with a cushion of offensive support. Since a 5-1 romp at home against Montreal on October 27th, Miller had been forced to slug it out with next to no margin for error. In Miller’s past three starts prior to last night, the Canucks had scored a grand total of five goals for him and dating back to the eight starts since the win over the Habs, Miller had been given just 19 goals to work with over eight appearances. Miller has had his issues of late, but last night made his biggest stop of the game off Patrick Kane on a breakaway at 2-2 late in the first period. If Kane scores there, who knows how the rest of the night would have played out for the Canucks. But the veteran puck stopper did his job and got a much-needed victory for both himself and his hockey club.
*It was the sixth goal in a 6-3 win, so in the grand scheme of things Alex Burrows scoring into an empty net to seal the victory doesn’t carry much significance. But I couldn’t help but think as his fifth goal of the season went in, that Burrows had matched his output from two seasons ago. Scoring goals in the NHL is not easy and, man, it was tough to watch Burrows grind as he battled through injuries in his one season under John Tortorella. He looked lost at times that year going the first 35 games he played without putting a puck in the net before scoring five goals — the only five goals he scored that season — in a four game span. Who knows why it was so tough for Burrows to score then. Obviously that five-goal season is a distant memory now and Burrows bounced back with 18 last season and is now sitting at five in the 20-games he’s played so far in 2015-16. He has two in the last three games he’s played — and in between he and his wife welcomed their third child into the world. It’s safe to say these are better times for Burrows than those days two years ago when it looked like he might be nearing the end of his time in Canuck colours.
*And although much has changed in my professional life in the past week, I have somehow maintained my ability to appear in The Provies! Last night I was even offered the chance to come up with my own award and I went with:
Best Edler Being Edler
Edler had a bizarre night. He tripped on a stick lying flat on the ice and crashed into the corner boards. He went for a big hit and completely missed his man. Just flat out whiffed on a body check attempt. As I wrote, he got buried in the possession numbers and was on the ice for two of the three Chicago goals. However he blocked a game-high five shots, made a nice pass to start the rush on the Canucks 4-3 game-winner and finished the night with two helpers.
It wasn’t a disastrous night for Edler. Not by a longshot. He and the Canucks beat the defending Stanley Cup champs. But it was a strange night for the veteran defenseman. And there have been a few too many of those of late.
Maybe I’m delusional, but I think more should be expected of Alex Edler given the role he plays and the amount of ice-time he gets in all situations. I just don’t know that the Canucks will see much more. With Edler, it seems, you have to take the good with the bad and be prepared for both almost every time he steps on the ice.