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The Sedin Touch

by Jeff Paterson / Vancouver Canucks
It could hardly have come as a surprise to anyone who follows the Vancouver Canucks that Daniel Sedin won the Most Accurate Shot event in Saturday’s skills competition at GM Place.

What’s interesting about it, though, is those four targets he hit in the four attempts needed are the only things that have got in the way of a Daniel Sedin shot recently – everything else has gone directly to the back of the net.

A proven goal-scorer in his seven years in the National Hockey League, Daniel has never scored like he has the past few weeks. The 27-year-old is riding the hottest streak of his career having scored in four straight games since Christmas and registering seven goals in the team’s last seven outings. Even the usually low-key Daniel admits he’s enjoying having the hot hand.

“Yeah, it’s fun. When you get the puck right now you want to shoot and get it to the net,” he says of possessing the Midas touch. “It’s nice, for sure.”

Jeff Paterson is a Team 1040 broadcaster and a regular contributor to the Georgia Straight.

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Marty Turco, Ilya Bryzgalov, Mikka Kiprusoff, Jonas Hiller and Steve Valiquette – the goalies Daniel has torched recently -- may not agree, but the Canucks certainly like what they see.

A team not blessed with heaps of goal-scoring talent, the Canucks are counting on Daniel Sedin to produce and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Including the pair he potted in a December 20th 3-2 win over Dallas, Daniel has accounted for seven of the hockey club’s last 15 goals and, on the year, has 19 of the 107 goals (17.8%) the Canucks have scored.

“Right now goals are hard to come by. If we can score two or three a game we know we have a good chance of winning,” he says. “So whenever I can chip in or our line can chip in, it’s good.”

At the midway mark of the 2007-08 season, Daniel Sedin has 19 goals and 39 points, he leads the Canucks with nine power play goals and five game winners and is a healthy +9. His next goal will get him to the 20-goal mark for the third straight season and the fourth time in his career.

This recent run of goals – like the 2-0 goal he scored late in the third period to seal the Canucks 3-0 win over the NY Rangers on January 3rd – now has Daniel ahead of his pace from last season when he set a career-best with 36.

At the midway mark last year, Daniel was sitting at 16 goals and then picked up his pace as the team picked up its pace and raced to that 32-8-6 post-Christmas record.

With 19 through 41 games this season, Daniel Sedin is a legitimate threat to hit the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career and become just the eighth player in franchise to accomplish that feat (seven others have scored 40 or more a total of 13 times – the last to do it were Markus Naslund (48) and Todd Bertuzzi (46) in 2002-03).

But there’s plenty of hockey left to be played and Daniel’s not allowing himself to start thinking about 40 before he gets to the 20-goal mark. And he’s realistic enough to recognize that while he’s currently on a four-game run, he’s not going to score every night he throws on the uniform.

“I’m probably going to get cold during the season, too,” he says with a wry smile. “I just try to go out there and have fun and shoot the puck. Right now, if we can get the puck to the net, things are probably going to happen.”

Things have definitely happened for Daniel Sedin in the first half of this season and perhaps most-impressive is his consistency having never gone more than four games between goals despite facing the top-defensive forwards and blueliners on opposing teams. That close attention is bound to continue in the second half of the season, but it’s not likely to faze the Canuck sharp-shooter.

Saturday’s display at the Skills Competition just served to further prove the skill that everyone already knew Daniel Sedin possessed. But the fun of the fan-friendly showcase is over and now Daniel can get back to doing what he does best which is snapping pucks at his favourite target – the openings he finds on the goalies he faces.
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