When Daniel and Henrik Sedin were being courted by teams prior to the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, they made it clear they wanted to be a packaged deal.
They have no interest in being one this time around.
The NHL announced Tuesday that Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, alongside coach Alain Vigneault, will represent the Vancouver Canucks at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, South Carolina, on January 30th.
In the interest of making the 58th All-Star Game more exciting, the league tossed tradition aside and in place of conferences facing off, or even nationalities, teams will be picked by captains in an 18-round fantasy draft on January 28th.
The new format is sure to spice it up, but things will hit habanero heat if Daniel and Henrik aren’t on the same team.
Asked after Vancouver’s pre-game skate Tuesday when the last time the twins weren’t on the same team together was, neither could remember. It’s been that long. That makes the prospect of it happening in a few weeks all the more interesting.
All we know for sure is that neither Daniel or Henrik will be approaching the fantasy captains to request they be on the same team.
“It could happen and we’re fine with that,” said Henrik, the reining Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner who will make his second all-star appearance, in regards to lining up against Daniel. “There’s a lot of good players there, so it’s not a big deal.”
Maybe not for Henrik, but it’s a big deal for the rest of us. Although it’ll be tough to judge the effectiveness of the twins on their own at the all-star game, what with the effort level equivalent to an NHL pre-season game, watching one try to out-duke the other has potential written all over it.
And who knows, things could even get physical between the brothers. That’s what played out between Keith and Wayne Primeau back in the day in a game between the Hartford Whalers and Buffalo Sabres.
Daniel, any chance of dropping the gloves with Henrik?
“No, no. If it happens I’ll beat him up though. And he knows that too.”
Ryan Kesler won’t be fighting in the all-star game, that much you can count on. The gritty forward drips effort 82 games a year so playing amongst the league’s best will give him a chance to turn off agitator and just be one of the guys during his first all-star experience.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Kesler, currently second in team scoring with 24 goals and first in ice time at 20:25 a game. “I’m just going to take it all in, who knows if I’ll ever be back. It’s going to be an experience I’m going to relish.”
Kesler is amazed that he made the all-star game, first and foremost, but even more so having done it with a cast of all-stars on his team. Without naming names, the Canucks could have easily sent another two or three players to the big game.
“When you’ve got the twins and Lui, I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years that I’d make it, so to get the nod is pretty special.”
It’s clear what that says about the Canucks: “that we’re pretty stacked up front,” said Kesler, “that’s what it says.”
This will be the first time since the West beat the East 6-5 in a shootout in 2003 that three Canucks will play in the all-star game. That year Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Ed Jovanovski all dressed for the Western Conference, while coach Marc Crawford was behind the bench. That was the first all-star game ever decided by a shootout and Naslund, after picking up an assist in regulation, scored on Patrick Lalime to help lift the West to the win.