Opponents reflect on Sedins’ careers ahead of final game

‘Pretty cool when you get to play against guys that you’ve watched and looked up to’

Growing up in Vancouver, Morgan Rielly marvelled at the mastery of Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

He often found himself in awe as the superstar twins spun their magic for the Canucks night after night, making the impossible look effortless.

“I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to watch them do what they did over the course of their careers,” Rielly, now a 24-year-old defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, said this week.

“Tough to watch them go.”

That sentiment is being felt across the hockey world as the Sedins prepare to play their final NHL game Saturday when the Canucks visit the Edmonton Oilers.

READ MORE: Vancouver hockey fans bid fond farewell to Sedin twins

READ MORE: Daniel and Henrik Sedin steal the show in final home game with Canucks

The 37-year-old twins, who only announced their retirement plans Monday, gave fans in Vancouver one final memory on home ice when Henrik assisted on both of Daniel’s goals — including the dramatic winner — in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime victory against the Arizona Coyotes.

It was vintage Sedins in the penultimate game of another disappointing season for the Canucks, with the pair dominating on the cycle and showing flashes off the rush that brought back memories of their heyday.

Selected by Vancouver second and third overall at the 1999 draft, the natives of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, have a 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.

Winnipeg Jets centre Bryan Little said it was initially surreal to line up opposite the twins when he first came into the league.

“Pretty cool when you get to play against guys that you’ve watched and looked up to,” said Little, now 30. “They’re the type of players that you want to play against, but you kind of fear playing against a bit.”

Little recalled some particularly exhausting shifts early in his career when the Sedins were in their prime.

“The thing that really surprised me was how strong they were on the puck and how good they were at protecting the puck,” he said. “I just couldn’t get the puck off them when they had us in our end.

“They were so good at shielding it and so big and strong that you couldn’t do much.”

Former teammates like Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and Anaheim Ducks defenceman Kevin Bieksa congratulated the Sedins on Twitter after they announced this would be their final season.

So did one of their most bitter rivals.

Boston forward Brad Marchand punched Daniel Sedin repeatedly in the head in one ugly exchange after the whistle in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, a memorable lowlight in a nasty series the Bruins won in seven games.

Marchand then mocked the Canucks by kissing an imaginary ring and hoisting and imaginary trophy in his first game back in Vancouver nearly 2 1/2 years later.

“Congrats on a great career to the Sedins,” Marchand tweeted this week. “Two of the best play makers to ever play the game! All the best in retirement.”

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid said it will be a privilege share the same ice with the Sedins one last time.

“What they have done for the game, it has been tremendous,” the 21-year-old centre said. ”It’s exciting that we get to play the last one against them.

“I’m sure it will be an emotional night for them and I am sure they will be looking to have a good one.”

— With files from Shane Jones and Judy Owen

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press



Just Posted

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash in Ladysmith

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup truck Friday

Caps keep pace with Wild through four games

Teams return to Wenatchee deadlocked at 2-2

Nominations open for North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame

Committee’s eventual selections will be honoured at a ceremony Nov. 16

Gallery of hockey stars

Lucky seven from the Cowichan Valley Memorial Midget C Tournament receive their awards

Caps fall to Wild in game four

Slow start, tough bounces and series is at 2-2

Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash sentenced to eight years

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Kater to launch ridesharing service in Vancouver by end of month

The Surrey-based company got its permits from the Vancouver Taxi Association

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Cheetahs will not prosper in Creston: Permit rejected for two big cats

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Most Read