Everything was picture perfect for the Vancouver Canucks last night, as they honored the two greatest players to ever play for their franchise in Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Despite the fact that NHL TV didn’t stream the ceremony until 9:15 EST, what US viewers were able to see was still a joy to watch.
Many distinguished guests and Vancouver hockey royalty participated in the ceremony, including Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley, Canucks Owners Francesco, and Paolo Aquilini, and the last four Canucks General Managers Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, Mike Gillis, and Jim Benning. Multiple members of the 2011 Western Conference Champion team were also in attendance, including Alexandre Burrows, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, Jannik Hansen, Kevin Bieksa, and Alex Edler (who is still playing strong at 33 years old) and a Sedin friend/teammate Mattias Ohlund, who was not on that 2011 team. Lastly, fellow Canucks jersey retirees Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl, and Trevor Linden were also in attendance.
From the beginning, the Sedin’s speech was flawless, even giving their best wishes to Jay Bouwmeester and his family in the opening sentence. The Sedin’s speech clearly showed how devoted to the city and the team they were, as they thanked every member of the organization that helped them along the way. Vancouver fans were perfect, and seeing the numbers 33 and 22 raised next to Markus Naslund’s #19 at Rogers Arena forever was surely a special moment for everyone in the building.
As far as the game is concerned, Captain Bo Horvat (who, with Edler, presented the Sedin’s with the team’s gift of a free trip to the destination of their choice) opened the scoring on the power play with just under five minutes to go in the 1st period. In the 2nd, Adam Gaudette finished a beautiful passing sequence for his 10th goal of the season, which gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead. Finally, late in the 3rd period, Brandon Sutter buried the empty-net goal to seal the game for the Canucks at 3-0. Pending unrestricted free agent, Jacob Markstrom stopped all 49 shots en route to his 2nd shutout of the season. With the win, Vancouver extended its lead in the Pacific division, and now have a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers, with Edmonton having two games in hand.
We were so happy we were able to watch this historic night in Canucks history and were proud of the current Canucks team for being able to win a ceremonial game (unlike other teams we grew up watching… @Leafs). Much more to come, as the Canucks will fight to hold on to their Pacific Division lead and compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the Sedin’s 2015 team. More to come.