blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Henrik Sedin Interview - 2010 NHL Awards

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Henrik Sedin Interview - 2010 NHL Awards

Last month we met with Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks at the 2010 NHL Awards in Las Vegas to discuss winning the Art Ross and Hart trophies, off-season training, and playing poker with Luongo. These are his stories.

Q: How does it feel to beat out Crosby and Ovechkin for the scoring title and league MVP honors?
A: Yeah, it’s a real feeling. I mean they’re the two faces of the sport. It’s something that I did not think was going to happen when I’m 30 years old. I thought I could compete with them. I didn’t feel we were that much worse playing against them but they put up so many points and they’re unbelievable players.

: When you arrived yesterday did Ovechkin know who you were?
A: I think he recognized me on the red hair.

: Talk about the time it took for you to reach this level of your game.
A: We came here when we were nineteen and it wasn’t like everything went really well from day one. We came in with big expectations like Sid and Alex but it didn’t work out. We had some tough times and some struggles. We stayed strong. To work as hard as we did and then to see the results it makes it even a greater feeling.

: How do these awards compare to the Golden Puck?
A: It’s on a different level, for sure. It was a great honor to get that too. I mean it’s the biggest hockey award you can get in Sweden, so that was fun too.

: Talk about your final game of the season against Calgary where you collected four points. Did Coach Vigneault adjust the team system to allow you more opportunities to score?
A: No, not really. You can’t do that. It’s not going to work. I played a lot with Daniel and Alex (Burrows) during the last couple of games and I’m thankful for that. But at the same time, you’ve got to try and stay within the team system otherwise its going to work against you. It was a game I’m always going to remember for sure. The way the crowd treated us. It’s something I’m always going to bring with me for sure.

: Were you nervous when Crosby got five points in the first half of his final game challenging your scoring lead?
A: Yeah, I didn’t watch the game. Actually I watched Alex play. After that I got a lot of phone calls from back home. Then Danny called me halfway though the Pittsburgh game and told me that Sidney had five points. So that wasn’t good.

: What does it mean to win these awards as a career Canuck?
A: It means a lot. It’s not very often that you get drafted to a place that you like right away. We really enjoy playing there and we loved it from day one. Even though we went through some tough times early in our careers the fans have always supported us and the organization has been great and patient. They made sure the first couple of years were unbelievable. If you like the place and you think they have a good team and they have a good chance of winning, that’s where you want to be. So that’s why we re-signed.

: What did you learn about yourself playing apart from Daniel during his injury?
A: Nothing really. I think it taught maybe the media and fans a little bit but we knew we could play by ourselves. We’ve rarely been injured so we’ve played a lot of games together. This was the first time he’s been out for a long period of time. I knew the fans and media were going to start talking. And they did. So it was nice to show them that we can play apart.

: Tell us about the sleep experiment that the Canucks conducted this season.
A: They’ve put a lot of effort in to making it better for us with the traveling. We wear the sleep watches during parts of the year to see how we sleep and how we play with the sleep we’re getting. So they make some minor changes to the schedule where you stay over after a road trip for one extra night to get some better sleep. I think it helped us for sure.

: Did you notice a difference in your energy levels or your play?
A: No, you don’t really notice it yourself. But when you do the testing you can see that your energy level is way above what it otherwise would be.

: What are you going to focus on this summer to maintain or improve your game?
A: I’m going to do the same thing I’ve done for the last four or five years. We work hard. We spend a lot of time trying to get better but there’s no magic, just lots of hard work. That’s how we get confidence and that’s what we’ve done. We come back in better shape every year.

: Is there anything you do in the off-season to mentally prepare for the next year?
A: No, I don’t think so. I think mentally we’ve always been pretty strong. I mean to play in a Canadian market like we are and with the expectations we’ve had from day one, it’s something we’ve learned to live with and you have to somehow like it. For us that’s not a big problem.

: How much time will you spend on the ice this summer?
A: Not too much. I think you get enough ice during the season. I try to stay off as much as possible because I think it gives you more hunger to be on the ice when the season starts. But it’s going to be a few hours for sure.

: Do you take a break between the end of the season and the start of your summer training?
A: We usually take two weeks after the season just to get away a little bit. I get a little anxious when I’m not working out or doing anything so we started working out at the end of May. I usually leave Vancouver at the end of June and go back to Sweden for six or seven weeks.

: What’s your best time on the Grouse Grind?
A: My record is 31:15 or something.
Q: Is that a Canuck record?
A: No, Danny has the Canuck record.
Q: How much did he beat you by?
A: 35 seconds I think.

: Will you train with Forsberg and Hedman again this summer in Övik?
A: Yeah, we used to be like ten or twelve guys being there but now most of them are playing for Modo and it’s only like four or five guys left. We go there every morning and work out together. It’s great just to be back and be around those guys. Even the older guys who play for Modo, they’re there too. It’s good, it’s fun.

: Do you think Forsberg and Naslund will be back with Modo next year?
A: I don’t think Naslund’s going to be back. Peter may be. I think his foot is feeling better so we’ll see. You never know with him.

: What do you think about Modo's coaching change hiring Challe Berglund from SEL rival Timrå?
A: Yeah, its going to be interesting. He’s done a great job in Timrå. They’ve got a lot of older players on Modo and I think they’ve got a great group of guys but it’s a matter of getting the most out of them. I think he can do it so it should be interesting.

: Who’s the toughest defenceman for you to play against?
A: Duncan Keith is tough for sure. It’s not like he’s overly physical or dirty or anything but he skates really well and its tough to get in on the forecheck on him. You try to beat him once and he’s right there again. That’s what makes him tough. So I’d say Duncan Keith.

: Talk about losing in the playoffs to the Chicago Blackhawks for the second year in a row.
A: I said it all the long, they’ve got a great team. It’s not a fluke that we lost. They got some great players, good defense, and their goalie played great too. We were close but we lost to the championship team. I think we lost to a better team this year. They became hot at the right time. It made losing a little bit easier to see them win the Cup for sure.

: You saw Vancouver go crazy when Canada won the Olympic Gold. What would it be like if the Canucks won the Stanley Cup?
A: It would a hundred times worse. We’ve been there ten years now and you don’t wish anything more than to be there and to have a chance to win. That’s what you work out for in the summertime and something you dream about. It’s really tough. It’s the toughest thing I believe to win in sports. It would be fantastic. Something you dream about for sure.

: I understand you’re a bit of a poker player. Are you going to play while you’re here in Vegas?
A: I don’t know. I’m not much of a casino guy. I like to play poker with my friends and stuff. I doubt it.

: I met Luongo at the NHL Awards last year and he thought that you and Daniel cheat at poker when you play with him on the plane. Any truth to that?
A: Oh yeah, all the time. We tell each other what kind of cards we have.

: Speaking of cheating, how do we know you’re not Daniel?
A: Nah, you got no clue.

Many thanks to Henrik for speaking with us. Best of luck next season.