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

WIN: Langley thespian stars in upcoming ‘psychological thriller’

Langley’s Andrew Wood plays the role of Lieutenant Walker in Night Watch.

Make-A-Wish BC grants Langley girl’s wish

Mae Ten Haaf battled a brain tumour much of her young life, and recently returned from Disney World.

Vandals trash new washrooms in Langley City park

Less than two weeks after the Penzer Park facility opened, it had to be closed

Mark Warawa won’t run in the next election

Langley MP issues a statement about his impending retirement from politics.

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram named WHL On the Run Player of the Week

Registered three goals and three assists in a pair of victories for Langley-based team

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Lower Mainland teacher resigned after ‘inappropriate discussions’ with elementary students

Tracy Joseph Fairley resigned from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district April 23, 2018

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read