Hank - A Work Of Art
When the season began in September, Henrik Sedin's name would not have been mentioned in the list of contenders for the Art Ross Trophy for most points in the regular season. Well here we are, the last day and Henrik Sedin has officially won the Art Ross. It was not easy, however.
Early in the season, Henrik's twin brother Daniel had his foot broken in a game against the Montreal Canadiens and subsequently missed 18 games. Many thought that Henrik would struggle without his brother, but that was not the case. Henrik went on to score 18 points in those 18 games and only turned up the heat even more so when Daniel returned.
Henrik took over the scoring league courtesy of a red hot December and January. Eventually, Alex Ovechkin overtook Henrik and many thought that that would be the last time Henrik sat on top of the NHL's point race. Henrik managed to maintain a steady production pace and eventually pulled even with the Great 8.
Last night, with Ovechkin holding a 1 point lead in the points race, Henrik had one last chance to make a stand. And boy did he ever. With the Canucks facing hate divisional foes, Calgary Flames, Henrik and his brother put on a clinic. Henrik picked up four assists, not prettier than his final assist. Off a won faceoff in the Calgary zone, Christian Ehrhoff wrist the puck towards the net. Henrik, with his back facing the net, tipped a no look pass right on to the tape of Daniel's stick who went on to go between the legs to put the puck past Miikka Kiprusoff.
The assist gave Henrik a 3 point lead over Alex Ovechkin and 8 points over Sidney Crosby, but Ovechkin and Crosby had one game remaining. Should Ovechkin or Crosby tie Henrik in points, they would win the Art Ross based on the goals for tiebreaker.
Washington opened up Super Sunday against the Boston Bruins, a team with nothing to play for and resting their top players including Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. However, the young Bruins team fought hard and Tim Thomas came up with a couple of huge saves to keep Ovechkin off the score sheet. Simple, Henrik in the clear right?
Wrong. With a seemingly insurmountable 8 point lead over Sidney Crosby, Henrik looked to have clinched the Art Ross. Sid the Kid, however,wasn't going down without a fight. Crosby, also in the thick of the Rocket Richard race, came out guns blazing. He picked up 1 goal and 2 assists in the first period alone, leaving him 5 points back of a potential Art Ross Trophy. Crosby continued his hot hand scoring just 55 seconds into the 2nd period for his 4th point. Crosby would get one more point assisting on Evgeni Malkin's goal. That would be as close as Sid would get though and the Penguins would eventually win 6-5 in overtime.
Henrik Sedin's Art Ross Trophy is the first ever for a Canucks player. Markus Naslund came close in 2003 before losing it on the final day to fellow countryman Peter Forsberg. This is also the first time since 2002 that a player on a Canadian team has won the Art Ross. Henrik Sedin finished the season with a franchise record 112 points, bettering Pavel Bure's former record of 110. Henrik also scored 21 more points then the next player in the Western Conference, Brad Richards, who had 91. People can wonder all they want what his point totals would have been had Daniel not missed 19 games.
Here's a Youtube clip of last night's highlight reel goal.