I have played with and had the good fortune to broadcast games involving great players. I played with Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Dave Keon, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Darryl Sittler, Ron Francis, Dale Hunter, Michel Goulet, Peter Statsny, Stan Smyl, Richard Brodeur and Thomas Gradin. I have been a broadcaster for more than twenty years and have seen stars like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, and Anze Kopitar and how they are treated. They were and are stars and were treated like stars. I don't want to sound like a whiner. I don't want to sound like Oliver Stone and that there is a conspiracy to treat the Canucks like second-class citizens, but hear me out.
Henrik Sedin was a first team all star in 2010 and 2011. He was the Art Ross trophy winner in 2010 with 112 points. That same year he was the Hart Trophy winner as the league's MVP. Daniel Sedin was the second team all star in 2010 and first team all star in 2011. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 2011 with 104 points and the Ted Lindsay award as the MVP as voted by the players. Daniel and Henrik are currently one and two in scoring with the Canucks. They are stars, no doubt about that and yet are they treated like stars?
Let me go back a few years. The Sedins are two of the best guys I have met in the game. They respect the process. They rarely complain and never use the media to sell their agenda. When they first arrived in Vancouver they were two skinny kids trying to find their way. In their first four years they averaged fewer than 40 points. In the next ten years they have averaged more than a point per game. In their first four years they took abuse from not only their opponents, but from the media in Vancouver. Not once did they complain or voice their opinion. They would let their game do the talking. The problem became because they played on the west coast and because they never complained, it was easy for the league to turn a blind eye to the physical abuse that the other teams were using to try and shut them down.
Marc Methot took a run at Henrik Sedin on Oct. 10 of 2011. A dirty hit on a star player and nothing was done. In 2011 in the Western Conference Final, Ben Eager took a crazy run at Henrik Sedin and got two minutes for boarding. There was no suspension. In the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 on June 6, Tim Thomas leveled Henrik in front of the net and got no penalty. Brad Marchand submarined Daniel and got nothing. In March of 2012 Duncan Keith got suspended for five games for an elbow to the head of Daniel Sedin. It was one of the most flagrant fouls you have ever seen. Daniel missed 19 regular season games and the first three games of the playoffs. That same playoff year Dustin Brown flattened Henrik Sedin with an obvious elbow on Apr.15 in the series against the Kings. No penalty was called. In March of 2014 Henrik's iron man streak of 679 games played was ended when Martin Hanzal crossed checked him and a couple of games later he could not play. Hanzal got no penalty. In the last game of 2013-2014 season Paul Byron ran Daniel Sedin into the boards and he was carried off on a stretcher. He got five and a game and nothing else. This year Brayden McNabb threw a flying elbow at Henrik in the first two minutes of the game against the Kings at the Rogers arena on Dec. 28. There was no penalty on the play. I phoned the league office and they said they looked at it and would give McNabb a warning, but what does this do for the Canucks or the perception that the league is doing nothing?
Mikhail Grabovski hits Henrik right in the numbers and runs him into the boards. He gets five and a game and nothing more. The league says that because it happened so early in the game it is like a one game suspension. The refs called a roughing penalty on Matt Bartkowski without taking an Islander off so the punishment was a game misconduct and a three minute penalty. Grabovski is a third line guy with the Islanders and missed two periods for taking out Henrik Sedin for that game and at least three more.
Are you kidding me?
The league says they are trying to sell their stars, well then treat them like stars not like second-class citizens.
Like Rodney Dangerfield, the Sedins get no respect.