Playing with Henrik and Daniel Sedin means being the third wheel, and not just in the sense that they’re constantly cycling.
Many have tried to hang with the twin Vancouver Canucks stars, attempting to get on their unique wavelength. And while some can’t help but find success by virtue of being on the ice with two of the NHL’s greatest offensive talents, few can say they’ve achieved unofficial Sedin Triplet status.
That said, it might be time to edit Loui Eriksson’s birth certificate to reflect that status.
“I don’t know about that,” he said, with a laugh. “I’m just going to be the player I’ve always been.”
Eriksson signed a six-year, $36-million free-agent contract with the Canucks in the summer, leaving the Boston Bruins. He’s enjoyed the city in his visits there, especially during the 2010 Winter Olympics. But the ultimate draw was the chance to play with the Sedins, with whom he had clicked on the Swedish national team.
“They’re such smart players. They know exactly where they are on the ice, and they’ve been playing their whole lives together. That makes it easier,” said Eriksson, during the World Cup of Hockey.
So what’s the key to becoming an honorary Sedin Triplet?
“I played against them so many times, you know how to play. The style they have. For me it’s about getting open and help them as much as possible,” he said. “I always like to play with players that can give you the puck. They actually don’t like to hold onto it that much. They make those small passes. It’s hard to defend them.”
Against the Calgary Flames on in a preseason game on Thursday night, Eriksson scored twice: Once by deflecting a shot from Daniel, once from being at the end when a Henrik pass behind the net bounced in front of the goal.
“You can tell right away that he knew where to go. Where the right spots were, where we wanted to put the puck. Been clicking right away,” said Henrik Sedin.
The Sedins have played with a variety of linemates through the years, from Markus Naslund to Anson Carter to Radim Vrbata. But they both say that Eriksson reminds them of one in particular.
“He reminds me of Alex Burrows, in a way,” said Daniel Sedin. “The way that he thinks about the game. Maybe more offensively skilled than Burr, but real similar players.”
Henrik Sedin also likened him to Burrows: “He’s not the speediest guy or the flashiest guy, but he knows where to be on the ice. It’s easy to find him. Certain guys have that, but not everyone.”
(It’s here we’ll note the irony that Loui Eriksson, perennial Lady Byng candidate, is likened to Alex Burrows, who is … Alex Burrows.)
Playing with the Sedins brings its own pressures – “We have to produce for us to stay together,” said Henrik Sedin – but Eriksson said it won’t be the same pressure he felt in Boston.
“There was definitely a bit more pressure in Boston than in Dallas. But at the same time, there are hardcore fans there in Boston. It was a little bit different,” said Eriksson, who got his start with the Stars.
It didn’t help that Eriksson came to the Bruins in the blockbuster Tyler Seguin trade, and struggled in his first year due to injury while Seguin blew up to star status in Dallas.
“Exactly. That’s true. It was a tough season as well, getting the concussion and missing 20 games. There was a lot of talking in the beginning. There wasn’t much you could do as a player,” he said.
Eriksson, 31, went on to post 147 points in 224 games with Boston, including 30 goals last season. He’s a tremendous offensive talent, a ‘smart-as-they-come’ player and the Sedins are rather excited to adopt him.
“He’s such a good person. When we heard the news, we were excited, for sure,” said Henrik Sedin.
All three players said it comes down to maintaining that chemistry during a long NHL season. But at the start, it appears the Sedins have found a lost sibling.
“We’ve played with a lot of good players. Sometimes it clicks, and sometimes it doesn’t. There’s really no explanation for it,” said Daniel Sedin. “He’s a good player. He’ll fit on any line in this league.”
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