Sanderson seeing double

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:09 PM ET

 VANCOUVER -- Longtime teammates aren't always able to tell the Sedin twins apart.

 Having spent only a month with the Canucks, Geoff Sanderson is given the benefit of the doubt.

  Sanderson, who plays the left wing alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin, has been there since being acquired from Columbus at the trade deadline.

 He has no hope of knowing who's who.

 "It'd be nice if they'd dye their hair or maybe one grow a moustache but they're not making it easy on me," he said. "I just call them both Hank. I figure that way I'm almost right."

 Hank being Henrik's nickname.

 No matter how good that plan may seem, there still has to be times he's talking to Daniel.

 Or calling for a pass from him.

 "I still just say, 'Hank,' " Sanderson said with a laugh. "I figure Hank plays centre, so he'll be the one handling the puck in the middle. They don't correct me, (they) just let it go."

 It's easy to see why.

 In Sanderson's 13 regular-season games with the Canucks this season, he collected three goals and four assists.

 Maybe, just maybe, the Canucks have found the right fit for the talented and highly touted duo. Up until this season, that spot was usually taken by Trent Klatt -- at least when he wasn't hurt.

 The plan this season was to use Magnus Arvedson, who was a bust even before the former Ottawa Senator blew out his knee.

 Rookie Jason King had an early-season hot streak with the Sedins, with talk of a Calder Trophy in the works, but he fizzled, spent a chunk of time in the minors and is a Black Ace for the playoffs.

 Sanderson, certainly the most skilled of that group, is the benefactor of all those inadequate additions and relishing his post.

 "It really hasn't been as big of an adjustment as I thought it was going to be," he said.

 "It's easy playing with two players who have the chemistry and skill level that they do.

 "It's just a matter of getting the puck to them so they can do their thing and just trying to get open to get the puck back. They're so skilled, you just want to get them the puck and read off them."

 It's not hard to see why the plan would work. Sanderson's game is based on finding open spaces for scoring chances -- not going through a lot of traffic.

 With the way the Sedin brothers cycle the puck, it's a perfect fit.

 "It's jumping into holes to get open for them and shooting the puck," Sanderson said. "They do such a good job down low, it's finding the hole and getting open for them."

 Of course, getting out of Columbus was a godsend for the veteran. Despite having rising star Rick Nash, talented rookie Nikolai Zherdev, a handful of free agents like Todd Marchant and acquired vets like Darryl Sydor in the off-season, the Blue Jackets were an absolute flop this year. They finished ahead of only Chicago in the Western Conference.

 "It was a pretty frustrating season up until the point I was traded here," Sanderson admitted. "I was born again coming here with the energy and excitement building for the playoffs."

 Where expectations are high, especially on a line with the talent of Sanderson and the Sedins.

 He knows Vancouver's Stanley Cup hopes are resting on their ability to provide critical secondary scoring to take some of the weight of Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison.

 "We expect ourselves to produce in the playoffs because we know the first line's gonna get a lot of attention," said the veteran of 50 post-season matches. "You don't win in the playoffs with one guy or one line. It's up to other guys to fill the holes."


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