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Sedins overwhelmed by outpouring of love from Canucks fans

Twins get repeated ovations in next-to-last home game before retirement

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

VANCOUVER -- It could have been incredible.

Here was Daniel Sedin hopping over the boards in the shootout, the Vancouver Canucks tied with the Vegas Golden Knights 4-4 at Rogers Arena on Tuesday, the 18,865 fans on their feet. Then here was Henrik Sedin doing the same.


[RELATED: Sedins to retire with same class they showed in 17 seasons with Canucks | Sedins put up remarkable numbers | Sedins well-respected by opposing coaches, players]


The Sedins almost never skate in the shootout. Daniel hadn't had an attempt since 2015-16 and hadn't scored since 2010-11. He was 4-for-29 in his NHL career. Henrik hadn't had an attempt since 2013-14 and had never scored. Ever. He was 0-for-5.

But this was the Sedins' second-to-last home game, the fans' first chance to say goodbye after the 37-year-old twins announced their retirement Monday, and the Canucks were far out of the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And so why not? Coach Travis Green gave them a shot.

Daniel deked, flipped a backhand shot past goaltender Malcolm Subban and …

Hit the right post.

The fans groaned.

Henrik faked a slap shot, skated in and …

Hit Subban's right pad.

The fans groaned again.

Finally, Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore scored. The Canucks lost 5-4.

But you know what? It was incredible anyway, maybe even more incredible this way.

Video: VGK@VAN: Sedins receive postgame ovation, shake hands

Afterward, the fans stayed on their feet and cheered. The Sedins raised their sticks and clapped back. They shook hands with the Golden Knights, just the two of them, as if this were the end of a playoff series. Then the fans roared again, and the Sedins raised their sticks and clapped back once more before disappearing down the tunnel.

"It doesn't matter for us if we score or not the last couple games," Henrik said. "It's a great feeling to be a part of. I mean, it was fun."

"It was something you're going to remember," Daniel said.

This wasn't about one moment on one night. This was about so many moments over 18 years and 17 seasons. The Sedins are beloved here because they are great players but also because they are great people, quiet, humble, all class, in good times and bad, and because they have been and always will be Canucks.

This is the only NHL team they have ever known. A generation of fans have never known the Canucks without them. The Sedins grew up here, coming over from Sweden at age 20 in 2000, after the Canucks selected Daniel No. 2 and Henrik No. 3 in the 1999 NHL Draft. The fans watched them grow up, and some grew up with them.

"They've been here my whole life," said Graeme Pomeroy, 19, of Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

Soon they'll be gone as players, and so the fans lined up long before the gates opened at 5:30 p.m. PT for the 7 p.m. PT faceoff -- to be among the first 8,000 through doors and receive a Daniel Sedin bobblehead, but also to race down to the glass to watch warmup.

There were Sedin sweaters everywhere. Nick Ngo, 21, of Vancouver, wore a Daniel sweater. His girlfriend, Anna Nguyen, 19, of Vancouver, wore a Henrik sweater.

"Their skills, their overall way of being human beings, really brings joy to this community," Ngo said. "Seeing them retire after 18 years, it's kind of sad, I guess, but we're also happy for the fact they're moving on with their own families. I'm glad that they're moving on, but heartbroken that they're leaving us."

When the Sedins skated onto the ice for warmups, the fans took pictures and videos with their phones. They held up signs. One said it all.

"THANK YOU SEDINS," Jimmy Chen, 13, of Surrey, British Columbia, wrote between Daniel's No. 22 and Henrik's No. 33, "for all that you've done for the CITY, PEOPLE, and the CANUCKS … WE WILL MISS YOU … 2000-2018."

Chen said he hoped the Sedins would see it to "make their hearts warm."

"We all love the Sedins," Chen said. "They mean everything."

The Canucks showed an opening video montage of their careers. When the teams took the ice in the darkened arena the Canucks projected onto the ice infinity symbols with the Sedins' numbers inside. The fans gave them a standing ovation when they were introduced, cheers when they touched the puck, cheers when they cycled, cheers when Daniel got an assist. At one point in the second period they chanted "Go, Sedins, go!" 

With 10:27 to go in the third period, the Canucks projected the Sedins on the video boards, and the fans stood and roared. At first, they tried to ignore it. The Canucks were trailing 4-3, after all. Daniel said something to referee Justin St-Pierre.

"I said they were cheering for him," Daniel said, smiling. "He had a really good game."

Video: VGK@VAN: Sedins take the ice to big ovation

Daniel could have stopped there, but he didn't. He had to say something nice.

"No, I mean, the refs too, they've been amazing too," Daniel said. "There's a lot of back and forth there between us. We were hollering at them sometimes, but we'll always apologize when we're wrong. I think that's why we had the good relationship with them."

That's why the Sedins are the Sedins. After a moment, they couldn't avoid the fuss, and they waved to the crowd.

One more game at home, against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV) before the finale at the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Try not to cry.

"You get a little bit emotional, but you try to look down at the ice and refocus," Henrik said. "It might get worse on Thursday."

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