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Henrik Sedin focused on wins, not 1,000th NHL point

Canucks center four points shy of milestone

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Henrik Sedin is too focused on the three points that separate his Vancouver Canucks from the Calgary Flames heading into their home-and-home this weekend to give much thought to the four points between him and 1,000 for his NHL career.

"He hasn't said much about it at all," twin brother Daniel Sedin said. "He doesn't like to talk about those types of things, and right now it's all about the team and winning games."

For the Sedins, milestones are to be looked back on after a season, maybe even after a career, if at all. But when they eventually do reflect on the statistical heights they've reached, the focus will not just be on how far they came to reach those numbers, but on the people who made it possible.

That includes former general managers and teammates who refused to join the chorus of fans who said early in their career that the Sedins never would be top-line players in the NHL.

If you had told Henrik back then, amid clamoring for the Canucks to trade him and his brother, that he would become the first player to reach 1,000 points in a Vancouver uniform, he wouldn't have believed it.

"Impossible, for sure, especially in this city with this team," Henrik said.

Video: ANA@VAN: H. Sedin rips one top shelf for OT win

Drafted third in the 1999 NHL Draft, one pick after Daniel, Henrik had more penalty minutes (112) than points (104) over his first three seasons in the League. With questions about their speed and whether their seemingly telepathic cycle game could be effective in the NHL, few would have predicted then that Henrik Sedin would win the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy after he had 112 points (29 goals, 83 assists) during the 2009-10 season.

"I know it was a lot of talk about you had to trade us, but people believed in us, and I think Brian Burke was the main guy and then Dave Nonis taking over," said Henrik, who played his 1,200th NHL game Dec. 22. "Those are the GMs that could have easily listened to other people and what fans thought and that media said, but they stuck with us, and looking back I think those are some of the key people for us."

It's a list that includes former teammates too.

"The top guys could have easily said, 'This is not working out. We need more help. We need something else,'" Henrik said. "But [Markus] Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Mattias [Ohlund], Trevor [Linden] after he came in, and Brendan Morrison were always there for us."

Video: VAN@NYR: H. Sedin beats Raanta out of the penalty box

Bertuzzi, Morrison and Naslund, who, like the Sedins, is from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, each was still in Vancouver for the 2005-06 season, when the twins made their move to the Canucks top line.

More than a decade later, the Sedins still anchor the No. 1 line in Vancouver, and they lead the way at the rink and in the community. Henrik Sedin won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2015-16 as the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice.

"It shows a lot about their character, how professional they are, and their work ethic," former linemate Alexandre Burrows said. "People don't really see the preparation that goes into what they do on an everyday basis, the way they take care of their body and prepare mentally."

Like almost everything the Sedins have done in Vancouver, it's hard not to mention one without the other. Daniel is 17 games shy of 1,200 and 35 points from 1,000 in the NHL, but even as their production has slipped a bit the past two seasons, their effort rarely does.

"Still making sure every time they step on the ice they are going to perform as hard as they can," Burrows said. "Especially with the downs they had early on in their career, now it's nice to see them get those milestones."

Video: STL@VAN: H. Sedin nets OT winner past Allen

Staying healthy has helped. At 36, Henrik has missed 30 games and Daniel 53 in 15 1/2 NHL seasons.

Henrik and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who also has 996 NHL points, are about to become the 84th and 85th players in League history to reach 1,000.

Henrik and Daniel are fourth and fifth among Sweden-born players in NHL games played and points, trailing Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564 games, 1,142 points), Mats Sundin (1,346 games, 1,349 points), and Daniel Alfredsson (1,246 games, 1,157 points). They're right there in the discussion of a Mount Rushmore of Swedish hockey, along with Lidstrom, Sundin and Petr Forsberg (708 games, 885 points).

"Those are three pretty iconic players, but everyone knows how good the Sedins are too," Canucks forward and fellow Swede Loui Eriksson said. "It's not easy in this league to get that many points. It's a great accomplishment."

Even if the player on the verge of accomplishing it would rather not talk about it.

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