The point of this article is not to convince you Daniel and Henrik Sedin are tough. If you’re a Canucks fan, you accepted that fact long ago. If not, your perception is changing.
Perception is what it’s all about when talking about a player you don’t watch every night, and images stick with you over the years.
When you think of Steve Nash, the way he played against the Lakers with a broken, bloody nose comes to mind. With Duncan Keith, it’s lifting the Stanley Cup with his entire front row of teeth missing.
Unfortunately for the Sedins, the memory that stuck with hockey fans outside Vancouver was from their 2011 trip to the Finals when Brad Marchand punched Daniel repeatedly in the face and Daniel did nothing to respond.
Canucks fans knew the team’s mantra from the top down was to turn the other cheek, take the power play and hurt your opponent on the score board. It was respectable in Vancouver.
In other markets, it resonated like Gordon Bombay telling his team to take the dive.
Since the departure of Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault, the Sedins’ responses have changed. They’re more likely to stand their ground or push back, and while Vancouver’s noticed it, others hadn’t yet replaced that shot of Daniel being sandbagged by Marchand.
That Hank has been playing through serious pain for weeks, at times not even able to sit on the bench, while only missing a handful of shifts was not enough. The image, after all, is a guy standing – nothing memorable about that.
Which is why it’s as awesome as it is gruesome that Daniel got smacked in the face by a puck during Monday’s game against Arizona.
The image of him sitting on the bench looking like a deranged vampire who’d just chomped into some poor human’s flesh was as memorable as it was disgusting.
Though for him, it was hardly worth mentioning.
“For me that’s not a big deal,” Daniel said to TSN 1040 radio Wednesday. “It’s teeth right? It’s not going to stop you from playing. I had a few stitches and came back. We saw Jannik Hansen two nights before did the same thing.”
Considering he had three fake teeth and one real tooth knocked out of his mouth requiring stitches in the “double digits,” he surely downplayed the pain.
Daniel addressed the public perception of him and his brother.
“I’m a little tired of (being called) ‘the soft Sedins’ but we’ve been hearing that throughout the years, so it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.
Does he think the reputation will ever go away?
“No, I don’t think so. It started with all “the Sisters” talk and all that, and since then fans pick up on that and media too. That’s probably going to (stay) with us.”
He may be wrong there. Because of that bloody face, some respected hockey people noticed what went on during Mondays game.
Daniel Sedin has puck thrown into face. Teeth fly out of his mouth…bleeding away on the bench. Can’t wait to see who calls him soft.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 5, 2016
Make no mistake: Friedman’s opinions have influence over hockey fans, at least in Canada. With the bloody-face image fresh in fans minds, and seeing him near the top of the scoring race at 35, you have to think they might look at him with added respect as he plays at this year’s All Star Game.
Daniel spoke about the new 3-on-3 format calling out All Star Games of the past.
“It’s going to be different for sure,” he said. “I think they had to change things up. The last few years it hasn’t been fun to watch as a player and as a fan too it hasn’t been good enough, so it’s good that they tried something new and we’ll see how that goes.”
He had more to say on the players selected for the game, too.
“I understand why they want players from each team but for me I liked it better back in the day when they picked the best players, it didn’t matter whether one team had 10 players or 0 players. It should be the best.”
See that change? Daniel’s speaking his mind off the ice and standing his ground on it.
If he and Hank keep this up, by the end of their careers “the Sedin Sisters” may only be remembered as an unfit nickname for two fierce players.