Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five years after Naslund, Henrik Sedin's 757th

A cross-crease one-timer to Burrows.  Poetic justice at its finest.  Henrik's 757th point to pass Markus Naslund could not have been achieved on a more fitting play.  After receiving the puck from Daniel, he unleashes one of those seeing-eye passes off the rush, landing right on the tape through a maze of sticks.  It's what we've come to expect from the captain in his historic tenure here. 

Henrik achieved the feat in his 905th game, 21 more than Naslund
It may not have occurred to many, but putting Hank's record in the context of the past decade, the Canucks' faithful have been truly and uniquely blessed.  Coinciding with all the team success the club has enjoyed, Vancouver has seen three all-time record holders in the past nine years.  (Four of record-holding calibre if you include Daniel, who's not far behind.)  To put that into perspective, the Flames' all-time mark has shifted owners once from Fleury to Iginla in 2009 – over the past fourteen years.  Better yet, Darryl Sittler's 916 points as a Maple Leaf stood for just over a quarter-century before Mats Sundin surpassed in 2007.

Most teams' greatest players are separated by at least a generation or two.  Meanwhile, the Canucks have been fortunate enough to stage their four most-prolific players of all-time in a single nine-year span.  To take you back through the annals, it was on March 8, 2004, that Linden overtook Stan Smyl with his 674th point as a Canuck, a second assist to Brad May.  Nearly four years later, on December 5, 2007, Naslund followed suit with his 725th point on a feed to Mattias Ohlund.  No more than five years and two months have passed and the Canucks' all-time record bears yet another owner.

You'd think Canucks fans would start to value the accomplishment less and less.  But if you thought that Henrik's second assist last night yielded more emotion than you remember Linden or Naslund's ever having, you're not mistaken.  Of all the games, Linden broke Smyl's mark just a period before Todd Bertuzzi ruined two careers in one fell swoop.  Pardon the city for tempering their celebration.

By the time Naslund took his turn at the top, Vancouver's love affair with the captain was already in sharp decline while Linden was toiling away on the fourth unit.  Say what you will about his last few years as a Canuck, Naslund was a class act all the way.  For that reason, he would have no sooner defaced a number 16 uniform than make any legitimate acknowledgement of the record with Linden still active on the team.

Lucky for Vancouver, the city got another kick at the celebratory can.  Though the game ended in a loss, it featured what was most likely the longest standing ovation a player has ever received at Rogers Arena.  It was one of those rare instances in which the outcome of the game wasn't what anyone wanted to talk about afterwards.  The city got to rally behind their captain for what is, statistically, the greatest individual feat a player can accomplish with a team.  Really, what's a seventh-straight win?

So congratulations, Henrik.  Next stop, 1,000 points?


BTD has been covering Henrik's chase for 757 points since October... See our previous articles here:
*Could have been Henrik's day
*Henrik within four points of Canucks history

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