HENRIK NAMED ASSISTANT CAPTAIN
Vancouver Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis and Head Coach Alain Vigneault have appointed centre Henrik Sedin as an Assistant Captain. Sedin joins Willie Mitchell and Ryan Kesler who were named Assistant Captains prior to the 2008.09 season.
"[Daniel] cried a little bit the first night but it’s alright now,” joked brother Henrik. “It’s a great honor. We’ve got a lot of really great leaders on this team, so a letter doesn’t mean too much.”
“He’s really deserves it,” said Daniel. “He’s my older brother, so he should get the advantage. I’m happy for him. It’s an honor for him. He’ll do a good job.”
“It was a tough choice between him and Daniel,” said Captain Roberto Luongo. “Henrik’s a bit more outgoing, a bit more outspoken.”
The 29-year-old Swede set career highs last season in goals (22), game-winning goals (8) and points, collecting 82 (22-60-82) in 82 games.
The Canucks kick off their pre-season Thursday night in Calgary. With a few new faces (Sergei Shirokov, Aaron Rome, Tanner Glass, Mikael Samuelsson, Matheiu Schneider, Christian Ehroff, and Andrew Raycroft) this 2009.10 team is being touted as defensively solid, with great depth, and a strong secondary line that can chip in offensively, but with all this media attention comes great pressure.
“Last year most of the experts had us out of the playoffs,” Vigneault said. “We didn’t care. It’s about our group and what we believe we can do. We thought we had a good team last year and we set out to meet our own expectations. We have very high expectations within our group, so whatever that perception is outside that dressing room, it’s not that important to me.”
Kevin Bieska, who tweaked his groin during the third period Sunday night in Edmonton, took to the ice today at UBC. Rick Rypein also practiced today after being out Sunday night with the flu. Both are expected to make the trip to Calgary for the season opener.
“This is the first time I’ve skated since [sustaining the injury],” said Bieska. “I still have to get in and talk to the trainers but I lasted through the whole practice, so that’s good news. It’s feeling pretty good though.”
Brad Lukowich, Lawrence Nycholat, and Michael Funk, who were placed on waivers yesterday by the Canucks, have all cleared. Nycholat and Funk will head to the Manitoba Moose.
For those holding out hope that Mats Sundin would don a Canucks sweater again the flame is officially extinguished. Today Sundin announce his retirement.
“It was great to have the opportunity to play with him last year,” said Henrik. “It’s a big thing, especially for us Swedes on the team, to play with maybe the best Swede that ever played the game. He should be a Hall of Famer for sure, scored over 500 goals in this league and has been the captain of Toronto for a lot of years. In Sweden he is going to be remembered as a winner.”
“What a great player, a great leader,” said Daniel. “It’s sad to see, but he’s had a great career. It was nice to get a chance to play with him, for a short period of time, but I think we learned a lot from him.”
Sundin hangs up his skates after netting 564 goals and 785 assists (54-785-1,349) during his nearly 20- year NHL career. The only thing that’s missing, from the eight-time NHL all-star’s career, is a Stanley Cup ring around his finger.