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Henrik Sedin: Hart & Soul

...Henrik Sedin shocked everyone by beating Crosby and Ovechkin to win the scoring title

by Rob Williams @RobTheHockeyGuy / Freelance writer

June 2009 was a tense time to be a Canucks fan.

With Henrik and Daniel Sedin set to become unrestricted free agents, there was a very real possibility that they had already played their last games as Canucks. Negotiations went down to the 11th hour, with news that the twins had re-signed not breaking until the morning of July 1.

Canucks history would have forever altered if the Sedins decided to leave town, because as good as they were in 2009, the best was yet to come.

Henrik and Daniel were coming off matching (of course) 82-point campaigns as they entered the 2009-10 season. They also had 10 points in 10 playoffs games as well.

And yet, doubters still existed.

The 2009-10 season was when the Sedins silenced every last critic.

Henrik was precisely nobody's pick to win the scoring title and Hart Trophy entering that season, but that's exactly what he did. He didn't do it in a down year either, beating out two legends of the sport in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, who also had big years. Each scoring 109 points, Crosby had the second-highest point total of his career, while Ovechkin was just three points off his career-high.

But the season didn't start off great for Henrik.

Life without Daniel

In just the fourth game of the season, Daniel suffered the first significant injury of his career - a broken foot that would cause him to miss the next 18 games.

It was the first extended look we ever got of one Sedin playing without the other. It was also Henrik's chance to show that he wasn't merely a player that needed the gimmick of playing with his twin brother.

He was about to show the NHL that he was a great player - full stop.

In 18 games without his brother, Henrik didn't lose a beat. He scored 18 points in 18 games, but what was different about this stretch of hockey is that Henrik became a goal-scorer.

Yes, Henrik, as much of a 'pass-first' player as you'll ever come across, became the finisher. During that 18-game stretch, Henrik scored 10 goals, including the first and only hat trick of his career November 14 against Colorado.

Watch: Youtube Video

"I think a lot of people thought it was going to go downhill, but it was a good test for me," Henrik said later in a 2010 interview with CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos.

When Daniel returned on November 22, well that's when Henrik really took off, scoring 54 points in his next 32 games.

Last game of the season with the Art Ross on the line

Heading into the last Canucks game of the season against the Calgary Flames, Henrik led Crosby by four points and trailed Ovechkin by one in the NHL scoring race. But both Crosby and Ovechkin had an extra game to play the next day.

So Henrik needed to not only to take over first place, he likely needed to give himself a cushion too.

It took just 7:44 for Henrik to tie Ovechkin, assisting on a Kevin Bieksa goal. Less than two minutes later, he picked up an assist on brother Daniel's goal to take over the lead.

But in the 3rd period, it was showtime.

Just 3:27 into the third, Henrik fed Daniel for a tap in on a two-on-one. Then, 20 seconds later while the PA announcer was still announcing the previous goal, we were treated to perhaps the finest goal of the Sedins' illustrious careers.

With a Flames player draped all over him, Henrik completed a no-look tip pass between his legs to Daniel, who then deked Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a between the legs move of his own.

Vintage Sedinery.

Watch: Youtube Video

It was a hat trick for Daniel, and the fourth point of the night for Henrik, giving him 112 points on the season. It was also an exclamation point on the greatest regular season ever by a Canucks player.

"If you look at the guys that have done it, it's unbelievable players," Henrik said of the possibility of winning the Art Ross Trophy following the game in a CBC television interview with Scott Oake.

"To even be up there is something we never really thought about. Especially with the early years we had here in Vancouver. Things didn't work out as we wanted it to. But people have been patient and we worked hard, and that's why it feels better to be here because it shows that hard work pays off." 

A day later, Crosby scored five points and Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet - neither enough to catch Henrik. For the first time in franchise history, the Art Ross, and later the Hart Trophy, would belong to a Canucks player.

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