Considering the greatness of his hockey career, the narrative as much as the performance, a milestone as large as this could not come at a worse time for Henrik Sedin. After a mind-boggling seven third-period goals inflicted by the lowly New York Islanders on Monday night left Canucks fans dazed as much as angry, no one is in the mood to celebrate anything — least of all the Canucks’ captain. Sedin scored his first goal in 23 games on Monday as the Canucks built a 3-0 lead after two periods, only to watch it crumble in epic fashion in the embarrassing 7-4 loss. The game was the 999th of Sedin’s NHL career. He’ll play his 1,000th in Winnipeg on Wednesday — reaching a milestone that is one of the most revered and valued by NHL players — but it comes at a low point for both the team and himself. Sedin winced when he was asked by a reporter about the upcoming event following his scrum before Monday’s debacle. “I’ve got a tough time talking about it, because of where we are in the standings,” he said. “It would have been nice if it would have been in a different circumstance. But of course it’s great for me to be able to play for the same team for a long time. It makes it special, instead of being around five or six different teams. It is special, but a tough circumstance to get it.” Sedin was a little more affable on Tuesday before the team flew to Winnipeg. “It means a lot to do it here,” he said. “We (he and brother Daniel) had some dog years, but once we got through those first tough years, it’s been a great ride. I never thought about playing 1,000 games. I thought about getting better each and every year.” Still, it’s shaping up as more collateral damage from a season that is becoming more toxic by the day. Sedin is one of the greatest players in franchise history, the Canucks’ first Hart Trophy winner as league MVP, captained the team to its first scoring championship as well as its first two Presidents’ trophies as the NHL’s top regular-season team ... but can’t comfortably celebrate a moment that he’s so rightly earned. Sedin, in his 13th NHL season, also gets to 1,000 games the hard way, having played through numerous injuries on the way to a new franchise record 679 consecutive games — snapped this season when he couldn’t continue with a significant rib injury. But this year has become a disaster in a way that has unfolded with shocking suddenness. The Canucks, appearing competitive and playoff-bound under new coach John Tortorella through late December, have been in free fall since then. They have just six wins in their last 27 games (6-17-4), and the fact their offensive production is currently ranked 28th in the NHL falls at the feet of Sedin, his brother Daniel, and some of the team’s other offensive players.
Henrik hits 1,000 NHL games but his special day is tainted by toxic atmosphere
Vancouver Province | Mar 12