Jason Kurylo: NHL Slow To Recognize Sedin
Henrik Sedin is the ninth different player to etch his name on the Art Ross trophy in the past nine seasons. He finished the 2009-2010 season with 112 points, which puts him alongside guys like Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr. His effort this year has been every bit as Herculean as the local media is saying; to put his club record total in perspective, when Pavel Bure scored 110 in 1992-93, the Russian Rocket didn’t even rate top ten status in league scoring.
Despite this remarkable season, in which Henrik played 19 games without his brother Daniel, the NHL website took nearly 24 hours to even include his name among their season-ending headlines:
Hank – the league leader in points – was nowhere to be found. “Crosby, Stamkos tie for ‘Rocket’ Richard trophy”, and “Ovechkin’s trophy bids come up short in finale” are articles that no doubt mention the Vancouver Canuck forward, but seriously, what does a Sedin have to do to get some love from the league? Stamkos and Crosby both rate video highlights on the main NHL.com page – is Henrik’s four-point final game against Calgary available? Daniel’s outstanding hat-trick goal? Nothin’.
It was only a quick email and letter blitz by Vancouver fans that moved the league to change things. Now the site bears the headline it should, “Henrik Sedin wins Art Ross”, and links to a video clip of Daniel’s between-the-legs hat trick goal against Mikka Kiprusoff.
The NHL has long used Crosby and Ovechkin as their poster boys. Other past winners of the Gary Bettman-era Art Ross, like Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton, are all, for a lack of better term, sexy. Betts can sell those guys to the American networks. Henrik Sedin, though? Hardly a GQ cover candidate. League officials will put on their Kodak moment smiles in Las Vegas, and they’ll probably come up with some marketing department spin to spew. They’ve already exploited the “Swedish Twins” bit in one TV spot a couple of years ago, right? But you have got to know that league executives and broadcast brass were cheering for Ovechkin and Crosby to tie up the scoring race on the final day.
How bitter should we be, really? Hard to say. With or without Bettman’s henchmen supporting our boy, Henke will be bringing back to GM Place a major piece of hardware that Vancouver has never seen before: the Art Ross trophy.