Opponents reflect on Sedins’ careers ahead of final game

‘Pretty cool when you get to play against guys that you’ve watched and looked up to’

Growing up in Vancouver, Morgan Rielly marvelled at the mastery of Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

He often found himself in awe as the superstar twins spun their magic for the Canucks night after night, making the impossible look effortless.

“I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to watch them do what they did over the course of their careers,” Rielly, now a 24-year-old defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, said this week.

“Tough to watch them go.”

That sentiment is being felt across the hockey world as the Sedins prepare to play their final NHL game Saturday when the Canucks visit the Edmonton Oilers.

READ MORE: Vancouver hockey fans bid fond farewell to Sedin twins

READ MORE: Daniel and Henrik Sedin steal the show in final home game with Canucks

The 37-year-old twins, who only announced their retirement plans Monday, gave fans in Vancouver one final memory on home ice when Henrik assisted on both of Daniel’s goals — including the dramatic winner — in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime victory against the Arizona Coyotes.

It was vintage Sedins in the penultimate game of another disappointing season for the Canucks, with the pair dominating on the cycle and showing flashes off the rush that brought back memories of their heyday.

Selected by Vancouver second and third overall at the 1999 draft, the natives of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, have a combined for 2,111 points in 2,634 games over their 17 seasons, including 1,499 points in 1,520 games from 2005 to 2015.

Winnipeg Jets centre Bryan Little said it was initially surreal to line up opposite the twins when he first came into the league.

“Pretty cool when you get to play against guys that you’ve watched and looked up to,” said Little, now 30. “They’re the type of players that you want to play against, but you kind of fear playing against a bit.”

Little recalled some particularly exhausting shifts early in his career when the Sedins were in their prime.

“The thing that really surprised me was how strong they were on the puck and how good they were at protecting the puck,” he said. “I just couldn’t get the puck off them when they had us in our end.

“They were so good at shielding it and so big and strong that you couldn’t do much.”

Former teammates like Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and Anaheim Ducks defenceman Kevin Bieksa congratulated the Sedins on Twitter after they announced this would be their final season.

So did one of their most bitter rivals.

Boston forward Brad Marchand punched Daniel Sedin repeatedly in the head in one ugly exchange after the whistle in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, a memorable lowlight in a nasty series the Bruins won in seven games.

Marchand then mocked the Canucks by kissing an imaginary ring and hoisting and imaginary trophy in his first game back in Vancouver nearly 2 1/2 years later.

“Congrats on a great career to the Sedins,” Marchand tweeted this week. “Two of the best play makers to ever play the game! All the best in retirement.”

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid said it will be a privilege share the same ice with the Sedins one last time.

“What they have done for the game, it has been tremendous,” the 21-year-old centre said. ”It’s exciting that we get to play the last one against them.

“I’m sure it will be an emotional night for them and I am sure they will be looking to have a good one.”

— With files from Shane Jones and Judy Owen

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press



Just Posted

Fraser Surrey Docks mechanic dies on the job

‘This is a very sad day - a worker went to his job this morning and didn’t go home’

VIDEO: Cloverdale’s cancer fundraising country concert hit the mark

Organizers believe the $600,000 goal was reached at the annual Gone Country - Here for the Cure.

Man arrested in Maple Ridge in connection with Victoria-area murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

PHOTOS: Canada Cup action continues at Softball City

The Futures Gold final is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Softball City’s diamond No. 1

BC Wildfire merges two Okanagan wildfires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Two accidents close Coquihalla north and south of Merritt

DriveBC says a crews are en route to each accident

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Trio overcomes adversity at the BC Games

Zone 4 girl’s 3x3 basketball team fought through injuries and conflicting schedules

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Most Read