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Salt of the earth

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
If Daniel and/or Henrik Sedin has an off-year this upcoming season, we know what to blame.

The NHL’s Player Media Tour began bright and early Tuesday morning as the Sedins, Daniel wearing light grey, Henrik in a dark suit, arrived at CBC Headquarters in Toronto to take part in a commercial shoot with Elliotte Friedman and Christine Simpson.

The premise was simple: Friedman and Simpson are eating lunch, discussing how successful the Sedins have been over their careers. SPOILER ALERT – Daniel is seated at the end of the table and he requests the salt; “Can you pass the salt please,” is his line. Meanwhile, Henrik has been standing at the counter behind Friendman the entire time and when Friendman grabs the salt to pass it over, Henrik grabs his hand, saying “Only I pass to my brother.” Henrik then shuffleboards the salt down the table to Daniel, who shakes some on his fries and has a bite.

Through the magic of television, Daniel and Henrik were never in the shot at the same time – amazing, I know. Over the course of the 30-minute shoot, the saltshaker was hurled across the table more than 10 times, spilling four times.

“That’s bad luck, isn’t it?” laughed Henrik.

“You’ll be fine,” smiled one of the production assistants, tossing a pinch of salt over his left shoulder.

“Okay good,” smirked Henrik, looking perhaps slightly relieved.

The season hasn’t even started and it was almost over already.

No jinxes, curses or spells were to be had during the rest of the Player Media Tour Tuesday; 11 sit-down TV interviews followed for each of the Sedins over the next two hours, with topics ranging from last season’s disappointment and Canucks off-season changes, to Back to the Future talk and belief in aliens and UFOs.

There were serious questions: “How often do you think about that Game 7 Stanley Cup Final loss to the Boston Bruins? and “Why couldn’t you guys get it done against the Calgary Flames last post-season?”

There were fun inquiries: “What was your first job?”, “Name a retired player you’d love to be on a line with,” and “If you could be any animal, what would you choose?”

And there were mean tweets. “That’s not even mean, that’s just funny!”

There was also an afternoon visit to Glen Ames Senior Public School for the NHL/NHLPA Future Goals Press Event.

After a brief lunch, Daniel and Henrik boarded a bus alongside Tyler Seguin, Dion Phaneuf, Morgan Rielly and Sean Monahan and traveled 20 minutes to the seventh and eighth grade school near The Beaches, where upwards of 600 students were waiting to meet them, white towels waving.

The purpose of the visit was for the players to promote the launch of Hockey ScholarTM, a new hockey-themed STEM education course that is part of the NHL & NHLPA Future GoalsTM Program.

In short, it’s a 12-module computer program that educates and tests students on core STEM concepts covering data analysis, geometry, life science, and physical science; the further they advance, the closer they get to winning the Stanley Cup.

As Henrik crouched down beside 12-year-old Mackenzie, who was proudly sporting a Maple Leafs jersey, a large smile filled his face. “I love science and geometry, and math was my favourite subject in school,” he said, as Mackenzie gave him a puzzled look.

The pair worked on a few questions together before Henrik left briefly to do a TV interview. “It’s really cool that they’re here,” she said, blushing. "Pretty good first day of school this year.”

The Sedins shared the same enthusiasm for the program, but not for the sauna-like gym they sat at the front of during a 15-minute school assembly. The air-conditioners weren’t working properly, so all the guys, and female hockey players Natalie Spooner and Kelly Terry, had to literally sweat it out.

Still, Daniel and Henrik, as usual, were their same cheerful selves, high-fiving everyone around and posing for photos left and right.

That’s the Sedins, always cool as can be – even if someone spills the salt.

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