Henrik Sedin has played 679 consecutive games. It's the NHL's sixth-longest Iron Man streak of all-time, and the second-longest active one, just behind Jay Bouwmeester of the St. Louis Blues, who's at 683.
Unfortunately, Henrik won't be getting to 680. For the first time since February 23, 2003, the Canucks will play Tuesday night in Edmonton without the eldest Sedin.
Henrik has looked near death for weeks. Midway through the first period of Saturday's game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames, he was battling for a loose puck in front of the Flames' goal. (Yes, despite what you may have been told, some hockey happened during this game. Some.)
He was pushed to the ground, and watching him get up was almost as painful for fans as it must have been for him. He shouldn't have been playing this weekend.
John Tortorella knew it, too. The Canucks' coach could barely bring himself to send Henrik over the boards, only deploying his captain for 3:47 in the second period. And at the intermission, he shut Henrik down completely.
It should have happened weeks ago, when Henrik played a game with a hand injury so painful he couldn't take face-offs. Mike Santorelli took all of his draws for him. The Canucks explained that Henrik was playing because it wasn't possible for him to injure his finger worse, which is the sort of thing you might say if the finger had fallen off in his glove.
The hand injury never got better, unsurprisingly, and now there are reports that Henrik is dealing with a rib injury of some sort. For most, that would be enough to sit out a few games, no questions asked, but when you're riding a streak like Henrik's, it's a tougher decision.
This is, after all, the guy that went along with a plan to play 22 seconds in a meaningless late game a few seasons back just so he could rest along with his linemates without losing his streak. He claims it matters more to trainer Mike Burnstein, but that's a crock. This streak means so much to Henrik he was willing to see himself expire before it did.
Fortunately, that won't be happening. Hopefully, with a few days to recover from his broken heart, as well as the banged-up body he needs to start listening to, he'll feel a little better.
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