NHL lockout is robbing Canucks fans of Sedins' finite superstardom

Photo sourced from Flickr user Loxy!!

The mood around Vancouver with regard to the Canucks and how the NHL lockout effects them has been mixed, to say the least—the arguments full of caveat and asterisk and couched in maybes and what-ifs.

They hinge on X-factors and unknown variables and there’s no need to rehash them here because there’s only one argument left worth making now: the longer this lockout goes the more harm it does to the Vancouver hockey fan, and for one reason and one reason only.

The lockout is throwing what few seasons of elite level play that Daniel and Henrik Sedin have left in their 32-year old bodies straight into the wood-chipper. And it’s outrageous.

There should be marching in the streets.

Think about how dreamy fans in this town get when the subject of Pavel Bures fleeting Vancouver career is raised and you can envision a time not far from now when similar nostalgia is voiced in reverence to both Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and the levels of cerebral surgery which they bring to how the game is played.

How the game can be played.

And none of that nostalgia will need to be framed around questions of commitment or personality—both on and off the ice these guys are just about the finest ambassadors a city, team and fan-base could ask for.

But that’s not why they’ll be remembered. That’s not why their jersey’s will be hung from the rafters about 10 seconds after they retire. It helps, but it’s not why.

They’ll be remembered because within a franchise arc of relative mediocrity Daniel and Henrik Sedin stand out as two of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

They’ll be remembered because, within a franchise history of so few home-grown stars and careerists, Daniel and Henrik stand out as Canucks draft-picks who’ve played every game of their careers for this team, and who in the process just so happened to ascend to the upper echelons of modern NHL superstardom as well.

Pavel Bure didn’t do that. Markus Naslund didn’t do that. Due respect, Trevor Linden didn’t do that—not to the extent of the Sedins and their Hart and Art Ross trophies.

The Sedins have done it, and they can likely still do more. But the lockout risks throwing some of it away. And for nothing. At least nothing from the point of view of the fans.

We’ve learned, over the years, that second-guessing the Sedins abilities is folly. That plying them into the mould typical of other NHL careers is pointless.

They were cast aside and left for dead at the ages of 25 and then turned around to become point-a-game players seemingly overnight, following the last lockout. They trod that path until the age of 29-30 when they decided, it seemed, to simply become 100 point players and Art Ross and Hart Trophy winners two years running.

They’re full of surprises, we know, and in more ways than one. 

But there are nevertheless some generally hard and fast rules in this sport. And one of them says that, like it or not, their time is running out. That the time to enjoy them as Canucks-only superstars is nearing an end. That, after the age of 32 or 33 a player and his on-ice ability takes a sharp downward dip into a series of sub-strata.

If any two players have a chance of defying that pattern it’s the Sedin Twins, surely, but we needn’t plan for it either. Surely, we hope, Mike Gillis isn’t.

Questions of playoff performance aside, Daniel and Henrik have spoiled us rotten these past seven or eight seasons, and someday soon we’ll be left wishing for one or two more. And every day that this interminable lockout stretches on into the future that day of longing grows closer and closer, as the window of what’s left for the Sedins closes further and further.

Perhaps this is unfair.

Every player has a window, a finite career which this lockout is shortening in some as-yet unknown fashion.

But sports are unfair. And the Sedins have earned our desire to see them spend every morsel of NHL-level ability and energy on the ice and to do it in Vancouver Canucks colors—not in a lockout spouting talking points. 

Anything short of that is, in the melodramatic tones typical of sports commentary, a complete tragedy. 

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