There must be something in the water in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. It’s a town of only 29,000 people but some serious hockey stars were born there. They include Peter Forbserg, Markus Naslund and Anders Hedburg. But something truly special happened in Örnsköldsvik on September 26th, 1980 and no, it wasn’t a massive riot among citizens furious their town has such a goofy name (I expect that still may one day happen. How many emoticons can you slap in one town name?).
That was the day Henrik and Daniel Sedin were born. Daniel is the younger brother, completely ruining my opportunity for a clever Elton John reference here. “Henric, my brother, you are older than me”. Hmm, doesn’t have quite the same ring.
Right in Örnsköldsvik, they began their professional career for Modo. Hello, Modo. They sure aren’t shy to go with off the page names, are they? The Sedins were only 16 at the time, thrust right into the Swedish Elite League, where they played three seasons.
In 1999, the Vancouver Canucks did some serious maneuvering to draft both Sedins second and third overall. I thought at the time it seemed a bit gimmicky but when you look at the stats, these guys may not have made it without each other. There is a deep connection that goes beyond sharing the same original zygote, beyond lookng like clones. People often say that twins have a secret language. When one is hurting, the other feels it, even if they’re not together.
What I didn’t know is that this phenomenon could extend to hockey.
First thing? Health. Now in their 8th season, neither one has had a single serious injury. Henrik has played 584 NHL games. Daniel has played 580.
Secondly, development time. Both needed exactly four bland offensive seasons in the NHL before blossoming in year 5.
Lastly, the stats. Even playing together, after that many years and that many games, you’d think one might go on a serious slump. You’d think one might simply emerge as a better point producer. Not so much. After over 8 years and 580 career games apiece, you know how many points separate these two?
As of today, they both have exactly 396 career points. No wonder they play so well together. They may actually be the same guy.