As if there was any doubt, Daniel Sedin doesn’t think losing as an acceptable result for the Vancouver Canucks.
Daniel isn’t happy about the effort the Canucks have been giving lately, and he wasn’t afraid to express his feelings about it after Saturday night’s loss to the St. Louis Blues.
“We’re trying to win games, I mean the effort should always be there” Daniel said. “Doesn’t matter where you are in the standings, what kind of team you are, that’s not good enough.”
The Canucks lost to the Blues 3-0, but it would have been a lot worse if not for the terrific goaltending of Ryan Miller, who stopped 47 shots on the night. The Canucks, who played the night before in Edmonton, were outshot 50 to 19.
The Blues are tied for the third best record in the NHL and were coming off consecutive losses to Calgary and Edmonton, so you knew they were going to be motivated. It was never going to be an easy night for the Canucks, who are in tough to beat anyone as they are currently constructed.
The Canucks aren’t a good team to begin with, and with the number of key injuries the they have right now, head coach Willie Desjardins is leaning on his young players a lot more than he would probably like. Nikita Tryamkin and Ben Hutton would ideally be in a bottom pairing role at this stage of their careers. On Saturday, they were second and third, respectively, in ice time among defencemen.
It’s easy to forget that Bo Horvat is just 20-years-old and was pencilled in as the team’s third line centre going into his sophomore season. Yet on most nights, other than the Sedins, no other forward plays more than Horvat.
Daniel Sedin: "From some guys right now, the effort is not there. I think those guys know who they are. I think it’s embarrassing."
— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) March 20, 2016
That doesn’t excuse their effort-level, according to Daniel.
“We have injuries for sure, like I say, I come back to the effort. I mean, every guy in here can drive to the net. Every guy can go in on the forecheck, win some battles. Every guy can defend, we know our systems. Doesn’t matter what kind of lineup you have. If you work hard enough and smart enough, you’ll be in each and every game.”
Young players go through growing pains, so you would understand if Daniel leaned on that crutch. But Daniel was having none of it.
“Confidence, you get that from working hard I think” said Daniel. “It’s not about points or stuff like that, it’s about working hard. If they don’t have confidence, it’s because they don’t work hard enough. That’s the way I look at it. The effort has to be there every night, that’s all you can ask for right now. Obviously when you get outshot this bad, the effort’s not there for a lot of guys. It needs to be better.”
It was a very uncharacteristic moment for Daniel, who along with his brother, tend to spin things in a positive light when speaking with the media.
“We played a really good team tonight and it showed” said Henrik, taking a different approach to analyzing the game than his brother.
Daniel went off-script because he was pissed.
Not every player can get away with questioning the effort level of his teammates. Daniel and his brother Henrik are two that can. In their 16-year career, their level of effort has never been questioned. They have put up with so much crap on and off the ice and always manage to dig themselves out of it with hard work.
It’s one thing to lose to a potent Blues team in the manner that they did. It’s quite another to have a no-show against Winnipeg, as they did a week ago. It’s unacceptable to get shutout by the Edmonton
freaking Oilers, as they did on Friday.
“Effort. I come back to that. This is too tough a league to just go out there and hope. You gotta work for your chances, you gotta work for your teammates, and once we realize that I think we can be a good team. And you need all guys, it can’t be five, six, seven guys, it’s got to be 20 guys.”
While many fans are hoping the Canucks can tank the rest of the season for a top draft pick, Daniel Sedin isn’t wired that way.
Tanking is a concept for fans and sometimes a strategy for management. But players? They can’t, and shouldn’t think that way.
You can’t be a top athlete and think any differently.
While the lack of effort should maybe ring alarm bells with regards to the head coach, who is responsible for motivating his team, it also shows the importance of having the Sedins on the team as leaders.
When things go off the rails, having these two consummate professionals around will be valuable, even in a rebuild. The Sedins aren’t going to put up with nonsense, and they’re two guys that young players will listen to.