I mean I do and I don't. It's not their fault that Vancouver has slowly amassed one of the least likable teams in the NHL, but fuck them nonetheless. What makes me feel bad is the fact that the team's two best players are probably the most apathetic, and were it not for a roster that is probably head and shoulders better than any other in the NHL, they'd be a playoff afterthought by now.
The Sedin twins just don't seem to care about anything. That's the feeling I get watching about a half dozen of Vancouver's games in this year's playoffs (and plenty in other years). That's the feeling I get watching their performances fall off a table as soon as things started getting difficult. Everything was fine and dandy for Vancouver in the regular season when they could put up a gaudy 117 points going 37-6-3 against non playoff teams and 17-13-6 against playoff teams. And it was fine and dandy when they jumped out to an easy 3-0 series lead against a Chicago team that quite frankly just isn't very good. But the second adversity reared its head and the Blackhawks started winning games, the Sedins were nowhere to be found.
Sure their stats match up well at a moment's glance, but when we look deeper, we find that Daniel has 1 goal and 2 assists in his last 7 games, and Henrik has 1 goal and 3 assists in his last 10 games, and has put together eight games these playoffs with no points. We've seen Daniel Briere shred enough playoff opponents to know that size doesn't factor in, and Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk run roughshod over enough teams to know that nationality doesn't factor in either. It's one hundred percent desire.
I never believed the notion that European players don't want to win the cup as bad as North American guys. We forget that just because these guys didn't grow up in North America, they weren't necessarily excluded from being NHL fans. There are plenty that watched Messier, and Lemiux, and Gretzky, (or Sergei Federov or Dominik Hasek) in their childhoods and dreamt about being among them...or better yet, dreamt of being them. But I do believe that sentiment is true of the Sedins. I don't think they want to win the cup that badly, and it shows. Where it was once impressive seeing Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows will the team above the Sedins' apathy, it has gotten sad.
As good as Nashville is all around, and as strong as they are defensively, Vancouver matches up with them in both those areas, and has an elite offense to go with it. Vancouver's 5th highest paid player makes the same as Nashville's highest paid player. This series should look like one Pekka Rinne steal and four Vancouver blowouts...but it doesn't. The Chicago series should have been over in four games...but it wasn't. A team should be able to count on its best players to care at least as much as the rest of the team...but Vancouver can't.
And so I feel sorry for Vancouver fans because they're stuck watching the most talented team in the NHL and perhaps one of the most talented ever assembled, and I think as long as both Sedins are on the roster they'll remain cupless. Better luck next superstars.
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