Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Could have been Henrik's day

Several weeks ago, The Province's feature sports story depressingly reminded Vancouver that October 11 "Could have been Schneider's day".  It would have marked the Canucks' 2012-13 season opener against the Flames and, consequently, Schneider's official christening as Vancouver's new endless scapegoat undisputed starter.

Fast forward later in the month and yesterday marks what would have been Vancouver's tenth game of the regular season.  Preparing for a matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, our theories by now would have been confirmed as to whether or not the Canucks' lacklustre Octobers have been entirely Luongo's fault all these years.  But in the grander scheme of Canucks hockey lore, the city would most likely be focused on something far more significant.

At 747 points in 892 games, Henrik Sedin currently stands nine points behind Markus Naslund for the Canucks' all-time lead.  Assuming he and Daniel's near-robotic point-a-game pace, Henrik would have hypothetically broken Naslund's record yesterday with his 10th point in the 10th game of the season and 757th all-time.  Would have happened at Rogers Arena on national television to boot.  Maybe a one-timer to Jason Garrison?  Probably a tap-in to Burrows.

Realistically, you give or take a couple games for Henrik to pass Naslund in this scenario.  Point is, in this now-cancelled stage in the season, we would either be celebrating or anticipating something truly great.  And within another three months or so, Daniel, too, would be within reach of his former captain, statistically solidifying the twins as the Canucks' best players in team history.

Cue the standing ovations.  The headlines.  The city's love affair with the Sedins and, by extension, the game of hockey as a whole.

Moments such as the Sedins' pending milestones have that rare capacity to capture a city's brief attention and a rabid fan's entire consciousness.  They turn even the most jaded Canucks followers rosy-eyed for but a few moments – about the length of a pre-game ceremony or a well-produced YouTube montage.

But with this feel-good storyline delayed – reduced in the present time to a mere hypothetical – Canucks fans can add it to the increasing pile of reasons to curse the league's powers-that-be.  As exciting as the displaced-NHLer-makes-news-in Europe routine can be these days, yesterday was ultimately for Bettman and Fehr to continue hogging the league's dulling spotlight.  Shame to imagine that the day could have been Henrik's.


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