February 11, 2013
Henrik Sedin one point away from matching Canucks mark
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - When Roberto Luongo was asked for his thoughts on teammate Henrik Sedin's pending milestone-setting two points -- one that will see the Vancouver Canucks captain become the franchise's all-time scorer -- the veteran goalie said, "What record?"
It wasn't sarcastic. It wasn't ignorance. It was just a fitting revelation as to how little Henrik talks about his inevitable achievement inside the dressing room when the cameras and scribes aren't there asking him about it.
"They're not the type of guys to brag about things like that," Luongo added Monday. "Him and Daniel are probably two of the nicest people I've ever met in my life. You always root for guys like that and you're happy for them.
"Obviously, we see the amount of skill that they have so there's no surprise there."
After picking up a pair of assists Saturday against the Calgary Flames, Henrik is one point back of former captain Markus Naslund's current franchise scoring record. The ex-Canuck, who had his jersey retired by the team in 2010, holds the mark with 756 points, having played 884 games with Vancouver.
But Henrik, with eight points so far this season, could match and even surpass his former mentor and compatriot Tuesday night when the Canucks host the Minnesota Wild — not that he's put too much thought into it.
"I don't think my wife knows about it," Henrik said with a laugh. "Early on, the first couple games, we just focused on getting better, that was really my mindset. I knew I was close going into the season, but it would have happened sooner or later. It's nothing I've really been thinking about before maybe last game."
The former Hart and Art Ross trophy winner is already the franchise's assist leader with 584. He also set the single-season record for points (112) in 2009-10. Since being drafted in 1999 with his brother, the 32-year-old has played 903 games — all with the Canucks.
Although always humble, Henrik was quick to turn a question about his potential points record into a competitive quip about Daniel, who trails his older sibling by 27 career points.
"I'm going to try and focus on keeping Danny behind me, that's my number one goal," said Henrik, who has yet to score this season. "He's getting closer and closer."
It has certainly helped that Henrik, who is in the second-last year of his current contract, has not missed a game since prior to the 2004-05 lockout. In the seven full seasons since, he has put up at least 75 points per year and his ironman streak sits at 592, the second longest active stretch in the NHL behind Calgary Flames' Jay Bouwmeester.
When asked what he's most proud of looking back on his career to date, Henrik talked about overcoming the first few seasons with the Canucks when the twins faced plenty of criticism from media and fans.
"It's just getting through those first years and getting over the hump where you start to feel better and you start to feel good about yourself again," the centre said. "It was tough. We didn't play the way we wanted to, we were struggling, we were criticized a lot of times. To be able to go through that and get back and become more bigger players than a lot of people thought, that's the main thing."
It's a sentiment Daniel also shares.
"I'm happy we went through it, it made us stronger," said the winger, who has played 33 less games than Henrik. "Nowadays, we know how to handle those kind of things when it happens. If you're secure in yourself and what you can do, criticism is nothing."
Adds Alain Vigneault, who has coached Henrik for seven years now: "I've seen him develop not just as a player but as a human being.
"He doesn't just work on his game and his skill, but he works on himself, and he's become a real solid captain. It's great to see Hank is close to being the best Canucks point getter ever."
Vigneault is going back to Luongo.
Despite two strong showings and wins by Schneider, Luongo will get his sixth start of the season against the Wild Tuesday.
"I'm not going to get into the specifics of why Lui is playing the next game," Vigneault said. "The important thing is, we've got two good goaltenders. There's no wrong answer."
The Canucks, who defeated Minnesota last week 4-1, are on a five-game win streak, having given up just five goals in that span.
"We take pride in that," Luongo said. "As a team, it's important to play well defensively. At the end of the day, that's what's going to make us go far."
There really wasn't much to be said by David Booth about his groin injury Monday.
"I'm feeling better, that's all I'm allowed to say," the Canucks forward said. "Progress is the word."
The 28-year-old winger has yet to play this season after suffering the injury at the start of training camp. And while he wouldn't disclose much Monday — after skating with his teammates wearing a grey non-contact jersey — he noted the injury isn't serious and skating with his teammate was a good sign.
"Just trying to move with the guys and get that reaction back, that's something that takes a long time to get back especially to be off for so long," he said. "It was really good to be skating with the guys."
Ryan Kesler, who has also missed the season so far in recovering from off-season shoulder and wrist surgeries, was also at practice. He reiterated there was no timetable for his return.
"Obviously it's inching closer," he said. "When I'm ready I'll let them know."
Manny Malhotra took a personal day and Vigneault will know Tuesday whether he'll be able to suit up.