VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin never envisioned playing 1,000 games in the NHL, let alone on the same team and with twin brother Henrik Sedin as a linemate.
It wasn't long after being picked second and third in the 1999 NHL Draft that the Sedin twins wondered if they would last more than a couple years. Their speed and strength were questioned and criticized their first few seasons, which Daniel said will make game 1,000 on Sunday night against the Chicago Blackhawks feel that much sweeter.
"Early on it was tough for sure," Daniel said, "But looking back both me and Henrik are happy we went through those tough times because it makes you enjoy things a little more now."
Henrik played his 1,000th game in March, while Daniel was out with a leg injury. They will be in the lineup together at Rogers Arena on Sunday, when Daniel joins Henrik and former teammate Trevor Linden, who is now the team president, as the only three to play 1,000 games for the Canucks.
"To play for one team over that period of time makes it that much more special," said Henrik, who has a 31-game lead on his younger (by minutes) brother.
The Sedins agreed it can be hard to reminisce amid the routine of the regular season, when two points in the standings are more important than 1,000 games in the League. But watching on TV when Henrik hit the milestone on the road last season, and then getting time to look back during the offseason, allowed Daniel to reflect a little more on his turn.
"You look back at teammates you played with, coaches you had and everything around the organization," Daniel said. "It means a lot. This is our home now and we have been able to play with a lot of great teammates for a great organization. It's something you think about every day and you are grateful for that."
Henrik joked that hitting 1,000 games "was so 2013-14," but echoed his brother's sentiments about reaching the mark.
"When you go back to look at old footage of who you played with and how many guys have changed throughout the years, been traded or friends that were here and left, it feels like you are getting old," he said. "For him it's a special night."
Not surprisingly, Daniel will reach 1,000 games with similar statistics to his brother. Daniel, who is the 52nd NHL player to reach 1,000 games with the same team, has 825 points going into the game. Henrik finished his 1,000th game with 833 points and now has 862, ahead of only Daniel on the franchise's all-time scoring list.
Canucks coach Willie Desjardins still has trouble telling them apart off the ice, but finds himself awed by some of the things they do on it.
"Every once in a while on the bench when those guys are out you will hear the bench kind of go 'Holy,'" he said. "You don't get that very often, these guys are used to high-end plays, but even the bench sometimes with those guys you will hear it."
Here are the projected lineups:
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg – Brad Richards – Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell – Phillip Danault – Daniel Carcillo
Joakim Nordstrom – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith
Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival – Adam Clendening
Scratched: David Rundblad, Jeremy Morin
Injured: Patrick Sharp (knee), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (knee), Andrew Shaw (upper body)
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Radim Vrbata
Chris Higgins – Nick Bonino – Linden Vey
Shawn Matthias – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Derek Dorsett – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen
Alexander Edler – Christopher Tanev
Ryan Stanton – Kevin Bieksa
Luca Sbisa – Yannick Weber
Scratched: Frank Corrado
Injured: Dan Hamhuis (lower body), Alexandre Burrows (upper body), Tom Sestito (groin)
Status report: Chicago goalie Corey Crawford will start for a second straight night and 11th consecutive game after backup Antti Raanta became ill Saturday and was unable to make his first scheduled start since Oct. 25 against the Edmonton Oilers. Coach Joel Quenneville said before the game that Raanta was "better" and will serve as the backup but just as they did in Edmonton, the Blackhawks would probably keep him off bench during the game. … Injured forward Andrew Shaw, who was not expected to play this weekend because of an upper-body injury, skated Sunday morning but will miss a third straight game. "Doing much better, wanted to play," Quenneville said. "He's close." … Quenneville confirmed defenseman Adam Clendening, who has played two games, and center Phillip Danault, who made his NHL debut Saturday, would stay in the lineup and David Rundblad could replace Michal Rozsival on defense. Quenneville said forward Patrick Sharp, out since Nov. 4 because of a lower-body injury that was expected to take 3-4 weeks to heal, continues to skate in Chicago and could join the Blackhawks during their annual "circus trip" which hits the halfway point Sunday and continues until Nov. 29. ... Desjardins still did not have an update Hamhuis, who had to be helped off the ice 1:27 into a game against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday with an apparent right leg injury. "He's out for a while for sure but I haven't got an update," Desjardins said, adding he "can't tell" if Hamhuis might need surgery. "We're waiting to get an update exactly on that and until we have an exact update I can't tell you exactly." … Burrows will miss a second game with an undisclosed upper-body injury, but no timetable has been given for his return.
Who's hot: Seabrook isn't usually known for his offensive flair, but he extended his point streak to four games (two goals, two assists) with a goal against the Oilers on Saturday … Versteeg has two goals and four assists during a three-game point streak. … Vancouver's top line of Vrbata with Daniel and Henrik Sedin has combined for three goals and 11 points in the past two games.