For the past 6 games, the Sedins have been invisible. And the scary part is, it isn’t even the post season yet. Daniel and Henrik have combined for just 1 point in those games, and both of them are on pace for a massive drop in production since their consecutive Art Ross campaigns. Right now, for the first time since they emerged as superstars, fans are wondering if the twin magic is beginning to fade.
As much as Vancouver loves to hit the panic button, it is not likely that halfway through a season, two of the top point producers in the league have completely lost their scoring touch. Nor is it simply a matter of the Sedins taking nights off. The Sedins’ disappearance off the scoresheet can be attributed to a combination of factors.
First and foremost, The Canucks are nearly guaranteed a playoff spot. Right now, they aren’t playing to win, they are playing not to lose. And against teams such as Dallas, who are fighting for life in the post-season, the effort they are willing to put in compared to their opponents is evident; these past few games have just exposed the lackluster play the Canucks have been getting away with for a solid month now.
The Canucks also have a new understanding of the post-season from last year’s deep playoff run. They know how physically and emotionally draining the extra games are. With that knowledge comes the understanding that pushing for unnecessary wins in the regular season is downright stupid. Obviously this isn’t what fans pay to see, but if the dividends are a better shot at a cup, there is nothing to complain about.
In addition to having very little rest in the summer because of the playoffs, the Canucks also fought through a much tougher start this year (featuring an extended version of Luongo’s miserable October/November campaign). The Sedins can theoretically be blamed for the losses as of late, but don’t forget about everyone else’s mediocre performances; Kesler has scored just 1 goal in his past 13 games. Clearly the wear and tear of a long season is being felt across the board.
Yes, the Canucks have just lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since November. But if the Canucks need to slump, this is the perfect opportunity for them to get it out of the way. the closest divisional team is 16 points back, giving the Canucks plenty of breathing room and a near lock as a top 3 team. Even if they don’t win the President’s Trophy, one less stress going into the Playoffs is most likely a good thing for a team that plays in such an intense hockey market. The Canucks now have a few weeks to work out the kinks and get ready for another arduous playoff run.
But if the Sedin’s are still nowhere to be found in 3 weeks from now, it’s probably time to start freaking out.