Asked before the game if he has encountered less hostility this season with Zack Kassian on his wing, Canuck captain Henrik Sedin said: "I don't know, no one has really done anything to us."


Then Sedin went out and played like Hammerin' Hank. He had three hits for the Vancouver Canucks Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, which says everything you need to know about the type of game it was.

"He was a beast out there," Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said of his captain.

All the big smashes were in Davis Cup over at the University of B.C., where Canada gooned Spain 2-0 on Day 1.

At the rink, the Canucks have more toughness throughout their lineup than they've had in years. Kassian is on the first line. Dale Weise, often the lone policeman last season, is on the third. Aaron Volpatti is on the fourth line.

Kevin Bieksa is the combative defenceman, but blue-liner Keith Ballard will fight and so will depth forward Max Lapierre.

So if there was ever a time to go into the back alley with the Chicago Blackhawks, conspicuous for their shortage of overt toughness only a couple of years after they were about the fiercest team in the National Hockey League, it was Friday.

Naturally, the game was almost a no-hitter.

The most dangerous skater was 20-year-old Chicago rookie Brandon Saad, and the most physical was Sedin, whose only NHL fights have been with brother Daniel over dinner tabs. And the game was decided by 5-8 Vancouver rookie Jordan Schroeder, who has yet to score a real NHL goal but gets credit for the winner in a shootout as the Canucks won 2-1.

With much pre-game talk of revenge or retribution, Daniel Sedin said the best payback for Blackhawk defenceman Duncan Keith's concussive headshot against him last season would be two points. Daniel got his wish, although his twin seemed to be channelling Dave Schultz on one second-period shift when he threw three hits — typically, a physical month for Henrik — with the last of them toppling Keith in the corner after he was rubbed into the boards by Daniel.