Steady Sedins Scoring Simultaneously
It seems like ages ago when twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin were acquired from the Vancouver Canucks to act as a 1B line to compliment the Kovalchuk/Gaborik tandem. Even foggier in the memory bank is their immediate struggle and call out by Head Coach John Tortorella for their lack of scoring.
The Rangers, now at the 52 game mark of the season, are one point shy of the Division and Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins and are among the elite teams in scoring. The Blue Shirts are currently 6th in the league in team scoring and while having scoring leader-board players like Kovalchuk and Gaborik certainly doesn’t hurt the team’s offensive stats, one could argue that the Sedin twins and their line has been the most consistent scorers of late.
While the Kovalchuk-Gaborik-Staal line has potential to combine for a 12 point game on any given night, it has been the Sedin twins, along with line-mate Chuck Kobasew (a Calgary Flames mid-season cast-away himself), that have been the most consistent in producing at least a goal per game.
The Sedins and Kobasew, since being acquired from the Canucks and Flames respectively mid-way through the season have been the answer to the Rangers’ early season scoring woes. The Sedins were acquired from the Canucks in a blockbuster trade that saw the twins and defenseman Willie Mitchell headed to the Big Apple in exchange for Nik Zherdev, Mikko Koivu and Nick Schultz. The twins, who played 7 games in Vancouver, combined for a meagre 3 goals and 5 points while with the Canucks. Upon arriving in New York the Sedins struggled offensively at first as Tortorella tried a bunch of different line combinations, even splitting them up at one point. However since the initial speed bump, the Swede’s have been the models of consistently, to the tune of 27 goals and 74 points combined in 48 games with the Rangers. In comparison, Nik Zherdev has totalled 12 goals and 28 points in 50 games for the Canucks, and Koivu, who has been since moved to the Boston Bruins has 8 goals and 25 points in 52 games for the Canucks and Bruins.
“Yeah that was a huge move for this team, one I was torn about making, but time has proven that it was the right move.” Said Rangers GM Darren Tucker when asked about his feelings on the trade. “It’s hard to imagine where this team would be right now without the contribution of the Sedins. Kovy and Gabs are still our game-breakers who can win the game for us on any shift but the Sedins are the reason we are in most games and in the position to win the game on one snipe or breakaway. I feel really good about the deal.”
Comparably, Chuck Kobasew was acquired from the Calgary Flames along with a few draft picks in exchange for Maxim Afinagenov and Eric Fehr 12 games into the season. Kobasew had a very unspectacular start to the season with the Flames where he posted 4 points in his 12 games for the Flames. After serving some time on the 3rd line in New York however, Kobasew was put on the wing with the Sedins and has amassed 9 goals and 23 points in 39 games with the Rangers.
The Sedin-Kobasew line is also one of if not the most effective defensive line for the Rangers, with Henrik and Kobasew tied for the team lead with a +16 rating and Daniel not far behind with a +11 rating.
“We just want to be a good compliment to the top line. I mean Ilya and Marian are two of the best in the league and they have won us a lot of games but most nights they face a checking line and the oppositions best defence pair and it’s not fair to expect multiple goals from that line every night under those circumstances.” Said Chuck Kobasew in the visitors’ locker-room after a 4-1 defeat of the Florida Panthers. “As for the twins, they are work-horses and probably the most consistent guys I’ve ever played with. They don’t often go off for 5 point nights but rarely are they held off the score sheet. I’m getting pretty used to the cycle game too but more often than not I just go to the front of the net and wait for a pass or try and screen the goalie.”
With two of the best snipers in the league, a consistent second line, a 3rd line that has produced 44 points combined, a tenacious 4th line, a deep defence core highlighted by Shea Weber, Mark Streit, Brent Burns and Tobias Enstrom and a goalie that gives his team a chance to win every night, the Rangers look to get back to the promised land for the first time since they cheated in a bullshit game 7 to beat the Vancouver Canucks to win the 1994 Stanley Cup.