VANCOUVER -- Since arriving in Vancouver in 2000, the Sedin twins have given hockey fans and media people here reason to hype them, be patient with them, criticize them, admire them and love them while always asking for more from them.
The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been no different for Henrik and Daniel.
"I think our 10 years here has been like the playoffs this year," Henrik said Tuesday during Media Day at the Stanley Cup Final. "It's a lot of downs, a little bit of ups, but now we're here and it's a lot of fun."
The hype over the Sedins and the Canucks heading into this postseason was huge just like it was when ex-Canucks' GM Brian Burke pulled off the coup to land the twins in Vancouver. They were the second and third picks in the 2000 Entry Draft, and 11 years later the Canucks were the top team in the NHL coming into this spring's tournament, with Henrik as a reigning Hart Trophy winner and Daniel the favorite to be this season's League MVP.
But, the slow start Henrik and Daniel had to their careers as Canucks mirrored the slow start they had in these playoffs, a start that nearly put the Canucks into the history books for all the wrong reasons when they blew all of a 3-0 series lead to Chicago and needed overtime to win Game 7.
The criticism they faced for that slow start in the playoffs matched the criticism they dealt with when they were learning the ropes in the NHL, when the production was limited, the hype was fading and fans were wondering if the Canucks truly were cursed.
However, by learning to ignore the critics, Henrik and Daniel turned into the all-world players capable of the all-world performance they gave against San Jose, when they shut all the doubters up by carrying Vancouver into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 17 years.
"When you talk about the ups and downs, that's how it's been for the last 10 years and that's how it's been in this playoffs," Daniel said. "It's a good comparison."
A comparison that both twins happily make because admittedly the difficult times here in Vancouver earlier in their careers allowed them to see things clearly through the struggles and criticism they faced earlier in these playoffs.
"After those first years we have never really listened to what media says. We don't care and we don't listen to them," Henrik said. "We are very good at analyzing our own game. When we're not good enough we know, we don't need to read it in the papers or watch TV to see that. That's what takes you through those times."
The tough times lasted for 10 straight games in these playoffs. From Game 4 against Chicago through Game 6 against Nashville, Henrik and Daniel combined for only 10 points and a minus-23 rating.
Perseverance, and some much-needed days off for Henrik to heal some wounds, gave way to a combined 18 points and a plus-8 rating in five games against San Jose.
"I think we knew we could play better, but we also knew we weren't as bad as everyone thought," Henrik said. "I thought we stepped up in the San Jose series and played a lot better than how we played in the previous two series. I think that was big for us. We knew San Jose was a great team. You're not going to beat a team like that without your top players playing well."
The Canucks top players were the best players in the Western Conference Finals, but that's the way it should be -- the way it always was supposed to be with the Sedins.
That was the vision when Burke made just about every possible maneuver in the GM's handbook to land both of them at the draft, selecting Daniel a few minutes ahead of Henrik, the exact opposite way they came into this world on Sept. 26, 1980.
It was also the vision of current GM Mike Gillis two summers ago, when he went to Sweden and convinced the twins that the future in Vancouver was all theirs. They signed identical five-year, $30.5 million contracts, signatures that allowed Gillis to go about getting the signatures and trades to put the rest of this potential championship team in place.
Luongo signed his 12-year deal after Gillis got Henrik and Daniel's autographs on official documents. Ryan Kesler signed a six-year contract soon after.
"If it didn't start with Henrik and Daniel, we'd be in a very different place today," Gillis said Tuesday.
It still starts with Henrik and Daniel, both on the ice and off it. Part of the reason the Canucks are in the Stanley Cup Final is because the twins never changed their demeanor or approach from the Chicago series to the Nashville series and, finally, to the San Jose series.
They are the same if they score or get shut out, if the Canucks win or lose.
"I think we can learn a lot from those guys as far as their demeanor is concerned," Luongo said. "That's how you want to approach things. They're the perfect example. You can never tell whether they're having a good or bad day because it always seems like they're having a good one."
Both Luongo and Kesler were asked if they have ever seen Henrik or Daniel angry or visibly show frustration about the way things were going on the ice.
Both quickly said no.
"Only when I beat them in ping pong, but that's it," Luongo joked.
"I've never seen them yell," added Kesler. "That's part of the reason why they're such great leaders."
It's that even-keeled attitude that allows the Sedins to stare in the face of their critics and smile, proving they can brush off anything that might bother the normal athlete, be it on a year-to-year basis as they are growing into their NHL skin or on a game-to-game basis as favorites in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"The first few years were tough," Daniel said. "We tried not to read the papers or listen to the radio or TV, but you still have family and friends reading them. Plus, you can figure it out because the media is asking questions every day so you know what is going to be in the papers. We're happy now that we went through those years because it makes it so much easier now."