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SI FOR KIDS
Canucks make twin killing
Posted: Saturday June 26, 1999 08:16 PM
By Jamie MacDonald, CNN/SI
BOSTON (CNN/SI) -- The 1999 NHL entry draft was dedicated to Raymond Bourque, just after noon on Saturday, and minutes later, the annual crapshoot would have a face. Well, two identical faces, actually.
There was talk in the weeks before the draft that some team would finagle a way to land both Daniel (the sniper ranked as the No. 1 European in the draft) and Henrik (a two-way playmaker ranked second on the Euro list), the redheaded Sedin twins from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. Vancouver was that team, and Brian Burke, a man quite at ease with making a splash, was its architect.
At the time Bruins GM Harry Sinden dedicated the event to the ageless Bourque (complete with a musical tribute on the Jumbotron) the first pick of the draft belonged to Tampa Bay, to be followed by Atlanta, Vancouver and Chicago ... but that didn't last very long. In fact, by the time NHL commissioner Gary Bettman welcomed the assemblage of family members (minicams), fans (autograph memorabilia), team representatives (massive three-ring binders), agents (cell phones) and media members (free food), the door had been opened for a new draft. Bettman informed the crowd of the machinations.
New order: Atlanta, Vancouver, Vancouver ...
Daniel and Henrik knew five minutes before the draft that both would be drafted by the Canucks. By the time the new arrangement of draft cards -- 2. VANCOUVER, 3. VANCOUVER -- were slotted in their new homes, everyone else knew, too.
Rather than announce the second overall pick as Daniel (who, for the record did go No. 2) and take his merry 'ol time to announce the third overall pick, though, Burke announced both picks at the same time.
So there they were, escorting one another down the Section 137 aisle, past their family, through the electric mustard plastic seats and, moments later, onto the stage.
Flanked by Chances management, the brothers Sedin pulled identical No. '99 (the NHL made sure to use the apostrophe so as not to infringe on the retirement of Wayne Gretzky's No. 99) team sweaters over their shirts and ties and began working on the brims of their Canucks hats. D. SEDIN and H. SEDIN.
"Well, it's great," said Henrik. "We have played together for five or six years now. Of course, we want to continue that."
This daily double, though, may continue, as a duo back in the Swedish Elite league. Before the draft, the twins were leaning toward playing another year for MoDo, where they have spent the last two seasons. On Saturday, they were politely non-committal when asked if their being drafted by the same club could sway them.
"We haven't thought about that yet," said Daniel. "We are just happy to be selected this high."
In case you weren't able to read between the lines, the twins also share a fondness for brevity. Which stands stark contrast to the negotiations that brought them to the Canucks table on draft day.
"It would take too long [to explain]," Burke said, before giving what he called the "Reader's Digest version."
It all started with Chicago winning the draft lottery. Burke insisted he would take one of the twins if available, but he was just as happy for not having to choose. By making it known he'd take one of them, Burke also painted himself as the only man who would be able to take both.
By 2:15 a.m. ["If I look tired," Burke said, "it's because I am."] the deal was in place, but was not the done-deal until quarter to noon on Saturday.
Burke gave up a very good defenseman in Bryan McCabe and a small piece of the future to play the twin bill, but he was able to land the players he wanted and he gave this draft an unforgettable identity.
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