What’s the opposite of star treatment?
There was a play late in the third period of last night’s Canucks game vs. the New York Islanders during which Henrik Sedin was hauled down, but the nearby official – and by nearby I mean being right in front of the play and looking at it as it happened – put his whistle away and decided not to call a penalty. Exasperated, all Hank could do was look at the official and mutter some words (pleasant ones, I’m sure).
Curious, I decided to scroll through the boxscores of the last several Canucks games and check how rarely Hank had drawn a penalty. Unless I missed something, I made it all the way back to the Canucks’ November 14 game against the Arizona Coyotes – this was the last time Hank drew a penalty.
I kinda knew that the lack of respect the Sedins get from the zebras has been a common occurrence for most of their career. Regardless, it was still surprising to see that it has been 20 games – and counting – since an official has deemed an infraction against Henrik egregious enough to call a penalty on it. 20 games. That’s a quarter of an NHL season. When you consider how much he (and his brother) handles the puck, how well he handles it, protects it and makes plays with it, and you add the abuse the twins get on a nightly basis – the hacks, the whacks, the hooks, the holds, the wrestles – it’s even more mind-boggling.
Twelve years ago, Brian Burke, while still the General Manager for the Vancouver Canucks, famously said, “Sedin is not Swedish for punch me, or headlock me in a scrum.” Looking back, however, I’m beginning to wonder if it is.
Historically the Sedins don’t do that badly when it comes to drawing penalties. Over the last 8 years Henrik has averaged drawing 17 a year which is ok. Even last year when the Canucks went on stretches of getting between 0-2 power plays a game because of the way Torts had them playing, I thought the Sedins numbers would have dipped significantly but still Henrik had 20 drawn total and 14 at 5-on-5. My biggest surprise is that they often come out at even when comparing that to penalties given. Take a guy like Sidney Crosby and he’s drawn more than double what he’s given some seasons which for me is the bigger sign of disrespect the Sedins get.
As for this season I have a couple of theories: The Sedins aren’t what they used to be and even while their game never was one that was based on speed, they’re lost a step and thus not as difficult for defenders to keep in front of them. A lot of penalties are generated off the rush and thats really not their game. Secondly, referees are calling fewer penalties every year and with the Canucks scoring the first goal in so many games this year, they’re even less likely to get a call.
Agree on your point comparing Crosby’s penalties drawn to the twins. Do you have numbers for some of the other star players in the league? I mean, I know the Sedins have slowed down, but you’d think they’d still draw more penalties than they’re drawing now. See, I don’t recall them drawing a lot of penalties off the rush anyway. Because they have possession of the puck so much, I remember them getting calls as opponents are forced to hold them to slow them down or haul them down – the kind of calls they no longer seem to get.