VANCOUVER – It’s the subtle things that after a while make twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin look like night and day to the people closest to them.
On the ice, the Swedish brothers are easily distinguishable. Winger Daniel wears No. 22 while centre Henrik is No. 33.
But in the Vancouver Canuck dressing room with their sweaters off, the task of figuring out which Sedin is which becomes more complex.
Their lockers are beside each other. Both keep their red hair cut short and have beards. Some members of the Vancouver media who have covered the Sedins for over a decade still get mixed up.
Linemate Alex Burrows rolls his eyes when asked if he can tell Daniel from Henrik.
“I have been playing with them for six or seven years,” Burrows said prior to the Canucks opening their first-round NHL playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday (CBC, 10 p.m. ET).
“I hope I would be able to tell them apart. Their facial expressions are different. Hank is a little bit bigger than Danny physically. They talk differently.”
Even the brothers call each by their nicknames. Henrik is Hank. Daniel is Danny.
Look closely, and their faces are different. Henrik has a longer, thinner face. Daniel’s is fuller and he has a square jaw.
“A few years ago they looked more alike,” said defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “Now they are starting to grow apart.
“You look at some of their pictures from the draft and they looked exactly the same back them.”
It’s hard to see, but the little finger on Henrik’s hand is smaller. It was sliced open once in a hockey accident and didn’t heal properly.
Identification used to be easier when Henrik had a chipped front tooth, but he had it fixed.
For the record, Henrik is a few minutes older. He’s one inch taller and about two pounds heavier than Daniel.
After that, the differences are more personal traits.
“After about two weeks, you can tell them apart right away,” said forward Tanner Glass. “It’s mannerisms. Not many, but there are a few things they do differently.
“The sound of their voice. Hank, is a little more, I don’t want to say outgoing, but he’s a little more talkative. He says ‘Exactly’ a lot or ‘Absolutely.’ Danny is quieter.”
When speaking, Henrik has a deeper voice. Named the Canuck captain last fall, he’s more analytical about the game. He usually stays away from cliches and can be brutally honest about the team’s performance.
Daniel tends to talk in shorter sentences and is not as analytical. Henrik is good when faced with large crowds of reporters, Daniel is best one-on-one.
The brothers enjoy reading. Henrik is a fan of a series of Swedish detective novels written by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. The twins also own four horses that compete in harness races in Europe and North America.
The Sedins both have a sense of humour and make fun of each other.
Two years ago, Henrik was made a Canuck assistant captain. He was asked about Daniel’s reaction to not being given a letter.
“He’s back crying like a baby,” Henrik deadpanned.
This year, Daniel was chasing the NHL scoring title which Henrik had won last year.
“I’d like to think I’m at least as good as he is,” Daniel said with a smile.
On the road, the brothers room together. At home in Vancouver, their families spend time together.
“You don’t find them apart too often,” said Glass.
Henrik and his wife, Johanna, have two sons. Daniel’s wife, Marinette, gave birth to the couple’s third child in March.
Last March the Sedins donated US$1.5 million toward building a new BC Children’s Hospital.
“You look at them around the rink and it doesn’t look like much separates them,” said Bieksa. “Once you get to know them, and their families and their kids, there’s different parts to them.”