I took the liberty to translate an article in Aftonbladet's sports section, Sportbladet:
DALLAS. It will, in all likelyhood, be a spring without playoff hockey in Vancouver this year as well.
But Daniel and Henrik Sedin have great hope for a great future for the team in their heart. The question remains whether the twins themselves will be part of that future – or if they will retire after this, their seventeenth, NHL season. Answer: that will be decided this summer.
“A big decision like that must be well thought through, so we will finish this season first and then sit down with our families and see how it feels,” they say when Sportbladet meets them at a luxury hotel in Dallas during yet another cross continental road trip.
Things looked promising for a while this fall.
Spurred on by a band of new eager young men – with the rookie sensation Brock Boeser at the forefront – the Canucks played their spritziest hockey in many years and were in the race till at least the end of November.
But then they suffered several severe injuries, lost their spark and finally the floor fell out under them. Now they find themselves nailed to the bottom of the barrel with sixteen desolate points between them and the cutoff line – and assuming no miracles occur the West Canadian team will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third year running.
“Especially sad this year”
Sad – not least for Daniel and Henrik Sedin. They are closing in on the inevitable end of a long and glorious twin career and deserve a happier ending, according to a reasonably unanimous hockey world.
“Yeah, no, this is not that fun. The last few years have been tough,” the now 37-year old twins say as we meet them in the lobby of the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, where the Canucks finish yet another one of their long road trips across the North American continent.
“It is especialy sad this year, because this season it felt like the team had a shot at taking a great leap forward, for two months we were definitely in the running. But then the injuries came and we couldn’t really handle that. When you are going through a rebuild like this, the roster tends to lack the depth necessary and you end up being more vulnerable.”
The two veterans stretch out in their large lush Ritz armchairs. They flew in the night before from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Dallas – a three and a half hour flight – and stumbled into their rooms in the wee hours.
“But it was perfect. We arrived just in time to see Charlotte Kalla win gold in South Korea. Fantastic!” Henrik cheers.
The only downside:
If the NHL bosses had only had sense enough to let their players participate in the Olympics, they could probably have been watching Super-Kalla’s race from the stands instead.
Misses the Olympics
Danne – who a few days before our meeting was hit in the mouth by a puck in Tampa and lost five teeth and to his brother’s amusement sounds a bit funny when he talks, nods consent.
“It is of course a bit sad that we have been robbed of perhaps our last chance to participate at the Olympic Games. You remember especially things like the ski races in Sochi. We watched Kalla race there and it was a great experience.”
“At the same time we were lucky enough to be on the gold winning team in Italy in 2006. So there’s no need to pity us. It’s worse for the younger players, who are in their prime right now, players like Victor Hedman and Rickard Rakell. It must be a terrible blow for them to not get to participate. Hopefully they get a new chance four years from now.”
Believe in a bright future
It is this kind of concern for their younger friends – and in this case the ones they see every day – that makes Daniel and Henrik mobilise all the strength they have for what is left of the season, despite that it is for all practical matters already lost.
”You never give up until the theoretical chance is completely gone, but perhaps what is most important is not whether we win or lose the 25-30 games remaining, but how we play,” they say.
“It’s incredibly important that all young guys fighting for a place on the roster over the next few years get to experience that we play the right way. Otherwise there is a huge risk that it will be the same next season again. So we still have a lot to work for and it still feels exciting.”
Because, in that case, if they can make sure that the losing mentality that has become ingrained in certain other organisations does not set root in Vancouver, the duo of brothers is convinced that Vancouver has a bright future ahead of it.
”Absolutely,” says Henrik. ”We have a lot of talent coming up within the organisation. Boeser, for example, is possibly the best rookie in the league, and soon Elias Pettersson and Jonathan Dahlén will arrive as well. There is a lot of talk about the new young Swedes up there, everyone has a lot of hope in them. There are a lot of positives, despite all.
”Then again, you can see in lots of places that it’s not enough to just bring in a lot of young players and think that things will work out by themselves. It doesn’t matter how talented you are; if you do not find the right Wy to think and learn how to win, it can get very tough and take a very long time. And this is why, as we said, it is so important how we finish this season.”
May retire at the end of the season
The question remains whether Daniel and Henrik – who by a wide margin are the active Swedes who have played the longest in the league – will be a part of that future.
As it turns out they haven’t decided yet.
They stick by their decision to remain with the Canucks for the rest of their careers and are thus not willing to be traded as rentals for a shot at winning the Stanley Cup elsewhere.
Yet they haven’t decided whether to sign any new contracts when their current ones expire this summer.
The best twins in the world may after seventeen seasons in the NHL – and before that three with Modo in the SHL – decide to retire.
“We have said we will decide after this season,” Daniel tells us.
“That big a decision has to be thoroughly thought through, it’s not something you just decide on a whim after a game. So we will finish the season in April and then sit down with our families and the team and think through how it will be.”
What will determin the decision?
”You have to weigh in all sorts of stuff,” Henrik explains. “Family, travel, how the body feels, what the team looks like and what role we would have. And what the team wants. It’s not like we could just continue because we feel like it, you also need to know that you are needed and can contribute. Sure, we have shown this season that we still can play and produce points and it’s nice we don’t have to worry about that. But still. It’s a lot to ponder. We will see.”
One decision has already been taken:
There will be no more World Championships for the Sedins.
“No, we got to win gold on home turf in 2013 and there is no topping that. So we talked to Rickard Grönborg and explained that that feels like the perfect ending with the national team.”
Instead the Sedin brothers will focus all their energy on the future of the Vancouver Canucks, whether they will be a part of it or not.