They entered the world together, they learned how to skate together, and just as they have done almost everything in life, together, the Sedin twins made the collective decision to unlace their skates for the final time and play their final professional hockey game for the franchise and city, where they spent their entire 18 year careers.
As Shane Doan, another dying breed of loyal player who dedicated his entire career to one franchise (Winnipeg Jets through their relocation to Arizona) said in interview on SN650 Vancouver “I have never come across a player that has had one single negative word to say about either of them” it adds to the type of players and people that the city of Vancouver fall in love with. As emotions of their final game in Vancouver, going out in fairytale fashion with the two identical twins combining on an overtime winning goal that seemed to even surprise themselves, the thought of the Canucks stepping on the ice without the ginger beards of Henrik and Daniel sticking through the neckholes of the shirts bearing 22 and 33 is almost unbearable for the fans.
This somewhat irrational melancholy feeling, coupled with the possibility of someone other than The Twins, occupying those jerseys seems as blasphemous to the Canuck faithful as walking through a church in flip-flops and shirtless. So, the only solution in order to correctly honour the Sedins, would be to ensure this never happens, raise both 22 and 33 to the rafters and ensure that no 6th round draft pick comes through and taints these royal numbers. However, to an outsider, a non-Canucks supporter, an unbiased jury, are the Sedins worthy of this ultimate praise?
From the inside looking out, Canucks fans would argue that these two gentleman epitomised what it meant to be a professional both on and off the ice, dedicated not only their careers, but their lives to the city, and along with their personal accolades, helped carry the Canucks to within 1 win of hoisting the franchises first Stanley Cup. They also are numbers 1 and 2 in franchise history for goals, assists, points, and games played, so from a Canuck supporter standpoint, a clear and definite, yes.
From the outside looking in, and albeit the more negative vantage point, they have never won a Cup, they rank 65 and 73 respectively in all time NHL points, in the tame company of players like Joe Mullen and Keith Tkachuk, who both wore number 7 for St. Louis. Also, when you compare some of the names printed above the numbers that other organizations have retired, the Sedins pale in comparison. The Detroit Red Wings have Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, and the legendary Gordie Howe to list just a few incredible legends they have been blessed with, and the Montreal Canadiens with the likes of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Jean Beliveau, and Guy LaFleur. It just seems a very long stretch to include the Sedins in the same company.
Now of course, the argument arises that these two organizations are part of the original 6 teams at the birth of the NHL, and have had a considerably longer time in order to grow a storied franchise history filled with cups and heroes, and this has to be taken into consideration, however the bottom line is, having your jersey retired, meaning no one in the future, even if they end up being the next Orr, Gretzky or Howe, is allowed to wear that number. Well, there is no higher honour.
The Canucks, still a relatively young franchise were a little impatient waiting for their own franchise legends to bring Stanley Cup glory to the city, and wanted to join the party of retiring jerseys, and the first to go up, was that of Stan Smyl. Sorry, Stan who? Canucks fans will call him a legend, but in reality, on the league wide scale, he was a decent player, with a decent career, who happened to be the best Canuck up to that date and benefited from a city eagerly wanting a little history. To follow was the cities biggest sports legend, Trevor Linden, then Markus Naslund, and Pavel Bure, who actually wore 2 numbers in Vancouver (10 and 96) but the former was retired.
It all boils down to setting a precedent, and the Canucks never had a player, or players worthy enough of a jersey retirement, but with Pavel Bure’s #10 never to be worn again professionally in Vancouver, the Canucks organization have basically said that a player that can bring the fans out of their seats, and nothing more, is worthy of the highest honour imaginable, then snubbing the Sedins, the most productive players to don a Canucks jersey, simply doesn't make sense. Their jerseys should be heading to the rafters, thanks in large part, to those who came before them.