No All-Star separation anxiety for the sedate Sedin twins
Sunken cheeks and hair loss are about Henrik and Daniel Sedin's only differences
Counting childhood, the Sedin twins have never played hockey against each other
If they're on opposing sides in the All-Star Game, they'll play for bragging rights
Georg and Yortuk Festrunk are still safe in their title as Eastern Europe's two wildest and craziest brothers. Daniel and Henrik Sedin in checkered, polyester pants, silk shirts and gold chains are just too far out for even Saturday Night Live's zaniest writers to envision.
"It's not really the Swedish way to call too much attention to yourself," explains Henrik, the reigning Hart Trophy-winner, who forgets a certain pop group from his homeland (it had a four-letter name) that made it big during the disco era. "In Sweden, you want to be nice and give the other guy a chance first."
There is just no way for an outsider to tell these sedate Sedins apart, either by their appearance or their answers to probing media questions. They are so similar that they easily fooled Dan Murphy, a Sportsnet Pacific Canucks TV reporter, in Pittsburgh about six years ago when Henrik posed as Daniel during an interview. (Murphy has since become wise to their wily ways, and says that one good way to differentiate one Sedin from the other is to look for Daniel's more sunken cheekbones).
There's also a shade of difference in their production on the ice. Henrik's goals are down so far (nine through his first 46 matches; he scored 29 in 82 last season), but his 56 points are roughly on pace to match his career-high of 112 in 2009-10. Daniel's 100-percent attendance thus far -- he missed 19 games to injury season -- is likely the reason why his scoring numbers are up and Henrik's are down.
"I'm the left-winger. It's my job probably to shoot the puck more," says Daniel, whose 27 goals and 59 points have him well on pace for his first 100-point season. "If I was the center and (Henrik) was the left wing, I think our numbers would probably be reversed right now. We're pretty much the same."
That is an understatement.
"It took me four years," says Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, when asked if he can tell the twins apart. "Hank's got a little less hair. That's really the only way I can tell."
Of course, they both wear helmets during games. As long as they don't secretly swap sweaters, Vigneault is safe.
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The burning question entering the Jan. 30 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C., is: which Sedin will be picked first by team captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom?
"Well, I hear Nick wants to pick the whole team as Swedes," Daniel says. "But, really, we're probably going to be on different teams."
Astonishingly, if that happens, it will be the first time in their hockey careers, even dating back to their childhood days on the frozen ponds of Ornskoldsvik in the 1980s. The twins seem to do everything together, even getting drafted one after the other by the same team (Daniel second overall and Henrik third by Vancouver in 1999.)
"We play against each other in other sports -- ping-pong, tennis, soccer, chess -- but it's never happened in hockey," Henrik admits.
Asked who he would pick if were a captain, Canucks center and fellow All-Star selection Ryan Kesler says: "Henrik. Always go with the center. They make all the plays out there."
The Sedins say there will not be any separation anxiety should they have to wear different uniforms in Raleigh. "I'm sure we might get some bragging rights over the other this summer back home, if one of us wins the game and we're on different teams," Daniel says. "I know each of us will want to win bad if that ends up being the situation."
For these two less than wild and crazy guys, it might even be fun.
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