VANCOUVER – With two season-closing assists against Calgary on Saturday, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks clinched his first NHL scoring title with 104 points.
The winger and his brother Henrik – the 2010 Art Ross Trophy winner with 112 points – are the first brothers in history to win back-to-back titles.
“The last couple of games I was a little nervous, I have to admit,” Daniel told reporters. “I knew it was going to be tight, but I didn’t worry too much about it.”
The stunning nature of this accomplishment becomes even more apparent when you look back over the decades. Among brother pairs, only Doug Bentley (1942) and Max Bentley (1946, 1947) of the Chicago Blackhawks previously managed to both top the league. And it wasn’t back-to-back – not to mention that odds of leading the points parade were better during the “Original Six” era.
It was never done by the Richards, the Stastnys, the Mahovlichs, or the Bures. Who knows when it’ll happen again? Unless, of course, the 30-year-old redheaded twins from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, maintain their torrid pace of creativity and repeat the feat in the future.
This year, Daniel (41-63-104) withstood late charges from Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning (31-68-99) and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks (50-48-98). The red-hot Perry, a 2010 Olympic gold medalist, dethroned Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning as the NHL goals champ. Stamkos, in his third NHL season, topped the scoring derby for much of the season after Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was sidelined with concussion symptoms in January, but was overtaken by St. Louis, Stamkos, and Henrik Sedin.
Now, pundits wonder, will Daniel fully match his brother’s breakout campaign last year by also winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP? He’s considered a strong favourite, but voters will also take a close look at Perry and Stamkos, plus veteran talents like Detroit’s Nicklas Lidström and Boston’s Tim Thomas.
This also marks the first time two Swedes have won the Art Ross in consecutive seasons. The only previous Tre Kronor star to claim that trophy was the recently retired Peter Forsberg of the Colorado Avalanche, who racked up 106 points in 2002-03.
“What’s most impressive is that [Daniel] hasn’t over-extended his shifts or played 23 or 24 minutes to get points,” Henrik said of his brother. “A lot of nights in the last month, it’s been 15-16 minutes, and that shows he’s got the right mindset. We’ve been winning games and if he plays solid he gets his points.”
The Sedins, who captured Olympic gold in 2006, will now set their sights on winning Vancouver’s first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 40-year history.