They came into the world 37 years ago and they came into the NHL together almost 19 years ago. They were inseparable throughout their careers, both literally and in terms of their offensive numbers. And three years from now, Henrik and Daniel Sedin will likely go into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a two-for-one package deal. Just as they should.
There is no shortage of people in the hockey world who believe the Sedins are first-ballot shoo-in Hall of Famers. They likely are, but not for what they accomplished on the ice. In reality, their on-ice accomplishments, particularly if viewed as a package deal, make them a good bet, but not a sure thing. (For what it’s worth, THN Hall of Fame guru Brian Costello pegs the Sedins as “very good bets” for induction, but not “shoo-ins”. He gives them an 80-85 percent chance of getting in.) In fact, if you were judging by on-ice accomplishments alone, there’s a good chance Daniel would be attending Henrik’s induction ceremony as a supportive twin brother.
By any measurement, there are others who are not in the Hall of Fame who have accomplished more than the Sedins. When it comes to career points, Henrik is one point behind Dave Taylor for 65th on the all-time points list. Daniel will almost certainly finish his career at No. 73. Those ahead of Henrik on the all-time list who are not in the hall include Pierre Turgeon, Phil Housley, Jeremy Roenick, Bernie Nicholls, Vincent Damphousse, Rod Brind’Amour, Theo Fleury and Dave Taylor. Those ahead of Daniel who are not in the Hall are Ray Whitney and Pat Verbeek. Henrik’s .81 points per game puts him 172nd overall on the all-time list, Daniel’s .80 puts him 184th. There are 73 non-active players not in the Hall of Fame who have higher numbers in that department than Henrik and another six who are ahead of Daniel.
But when it comes to points-per-game adjusted for era, Daniel sits 49th overall at 1,180 and Henrik is 56th at 1,153. In that context, the only non-active NHLers ahead of Henrik who are not in the Hall are Turgeon, Roenick, Brind’Amour and Damphousse, with Whitney the only other one who is ahead of Daniel.
To be sure, Henrik would get the nod on the strength of his two first-team all-star nods at center, along with his Hart and Art Toss Trophies in 2010. Daniel, meanwhile, earned one first-team and one second-team berth at left wing. Would the Hall’s selection committee be tempted to put Henrik into the Hall of Fame and leave Daniel out? Almost certainly not. One reason for that is their success has been so intertwined it’s difficult to imagine Daniel would have had the success he had in the NHL playing alongside someone other than his on-ice soul mate and twin brother.
But what tips it decisively in both players’ favors is the sense of integrity and professionalism they both brought to their craft. The Hall of Fame is about accomplishments and numbers to be sure, but it’s also about bringing honor to the game and the Sedins have done that since the first day they stepped on the ice. They were possession players years before the term was even coined and they represented themselves, their city, their league and their game impeccably and without peer.
Indeed it would be difficult to come up with a lengthy list of players who were more highly regarded and respected than the Sedins for the combination of what they did on the ice an off. Jean Beliveau, Syl Apps and Joe Sakic come to mind, but the list is pretty limited after that.
And with the Sedins it was about so much more than just being outstanding people and charitable works. The Sedins, like the Stastny brothers before them, were far tougher and infinitely more resilient than a lot of people, many of them in the Vancouver market, gave them credit for being. They fought through xenophobia and ridicule, particularly early in their careers, and never once complained. For most of their careers, they were the target of opposing checkers, shutdown specialists and physical players and all they did was play through it with an unwavering level of commitment.
So we’ll get to celebrate along with the hockey world for the next couple of days before the Sedins ride off into the sunset to be great dads and husbands. Judging by their comportment over the course of their careers, they’ll likely do it quietly and without being the least impressed with themselves. They’ll go about their lives in relative anonymity, likely not stepping into the spotlight until the Hall of Fame comes calling for both of them.
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