As the lockout continues to drag on and the league’s self-imposed deadline of September 15 comes all to near, Vancouver Canucks veterans Henrik and Daniel Sedin say they have no intention of leaving British Columbia to play overseas. With the Sedin family entrenched with commitments at home, they see no reason to play elsewhere.
The decision reflects the sentiments of many veterans around the league. San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton and newly acquired New York Rangers forward Rick Nash recently shot down reports out of Sweden that they would return to Swiss League team HC Davos, whom they skated for during the 2004-05 lockout.
Several factors may be at play. The Sedins are both entering the final two years of their contracts. Considering their age (31) and the fact that many believe the new CBA agreement will feature a tighter salary cap, the Sedins stand to be in line for the final big money contracts of their careers.
Lingering effects from Daniel Sedin’s end-of-season concussion could also pose an issue. The left winger missed a total of thirteen games after Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith elbowed him in the head during a March 21 contest. Repeated contact overseas could be detrimental to his recovery, a fact Penguins center Sidney Crosby knows very well. Crosby recently returned after missing 100 games due to a concussion sustained back in 2011. Though Crosby did manage to secure a 12-year, $104 million contract, the 25-year-old has something the Sedins do not: time on his side. By remaining on Canadian soil, Sedin can train in familiar territory without the risk of further injury.
The synergy-like nature of the twins’ playing styles could also be a factor. Since being drafted back-to-back in 1999, the Sedins have rarely taken the ice apart. The results have been noticeable. After averaging 52 assists over the past six seasons, Daniel notched a paltry 37 with his concussion in the 2011-12 campaign. Henrik, who developed a tendency to shoot the puck after losing his twin to a foot injury in the 2009-10 season, enjoyed career-highs of 22 and 29 goals in the two seasons that followed. But Daniel’s return caused Henrik to regress to subpar numbers, as the Canucks captain managed an average of 16.5 goals over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
The bottom line? Though Henrik has not missed a contest since the lockout, the uncertainty surrounding Daniel’s health could affect his production. The Sedins remain inseparable, best when together and playing in their natural roles – with Henrik as the playmaking centerman and Daniel as his goal-scoring wingman.