The NHL has recently been airing a new television promotion featuring Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the twin brothers who play together on the Vancouver Canucks’ top line.
It begins with a bunch of guys crowding into a hotel room for a bachelor party and one of them saying, “Fellas, I got these hot twins coming over. They’re Swedish!”
Then in walk the Sedins, fully clad in their Canucks gear, and they start dancing to some bad techno with all the rhythm you’d expect from a couple of lilly white, Northern European hockey players.
The ad is supposed to be humorous, but I found it more disturbing than anything else. Seeing these identical, milky-looking redheads swaying around together with those creepy grins on their faces and matching blues eyes all lit up really gave me the willies.
But that’s when it hit me. When the Sedins are really clicking together on the ice, it probably gives Vancouver a kind of betting value that no other team ever gets to enjoy.
As a goaltender myself (I actually prefer the term “brick wall”, but “goaltender” will suffice) I think I have an appreciation for this that most hockey bettors are lacking, so allow me to explain where I’m coming from here.
Just imagine yourself in net against the Canucks. Daniel Sedin is busting into your zone along the left wing, so you move towards the right post and out to the edge of the crease to cut down the angle. Keep in mind, you’re eyes are locked on Daniel to try to figure out what he's up to.
Problem is, Daniel’s mug doesn’t give you any indication that he's about to fire it over to Henrik, who’s barreling straight up through the slot. These guys shared a womb for nine months, so apparently making a perfect no-look pass at full speed is no big deal. Everyone knows that twins have some kind of weird telepathy thing going on between them too.
You throw yourself back across the crease to try to get positioned before Henrik lets go with the one-timer, but as soon as you look up your reflexes stall because your brain is trying to figure out how this guy just made a pass to himself. And in the split second it takes you to remember the whole twin thing, Henrik’s already buried it the twine.
Even if you were used to playing against the twins, there are still countless other problems the Sedins can cause for netminders. Not to mention the fact that they're both pretty damn good.
Goalies spend hours in the film room studying the tendencies of opposing forwards so they know what to expect come game time. But when you’ve got a Sedin coming at you with the puck, you don’t even necessarily know which one it is.
Is it Henrik, who’ll either shoot low or pass it back to the point while he comes in and screens you? Or is it Daniel, who’s gonna try a deek move and then go upstairs with a backhander? In the heat of battle there’s no time to check the initial on the back of the jersey and you’re flying blind.
I realize this theory sounds a little nuts, but the proof is in the numbers.
Before Sunday’s tilt at Anaheim the Canucks had won 11 of their past 13 games for a ridiculous profit of 10.13 units. The Sedins were two of Vancouver’s biggest contributors during the windfall, scoring 11 points each through that stretch.
If they can stay hot, the Sedins should help get Vancouver to the ticket window in their upcoming tilts with Minnesota, St. Louis and Detroit.
They had a point each when Vancouver beat the Red Wings Nov. 20. Daniel also scored the winning marker when they hosted the Wild earlier this month and potted the team’s only goal (Henrik assisted) when they last faced the Blues.
Flames in for a postseason burnout
If you want a guaranteed payout in the first round of the upcoming playoffs, just fade the Calgary Flames in a series bet.
Right now it looks like they’re destined to open the postseason as an away team and these Flames just can’t get it done on the road. They’re 9-16-0-4 on the trail this season, the third-worst such record in the league.
Calgary’s 27-6-0-1 home record is also tops in the NHL and if you ask me this dichotomy speaks volumes about the team’s shortcomings.
For starters it shows it has a lack of depth in scoring. Home teams in the NHL get to make the last line change and can essentially dictate the on-ice matchups. This means the Flames can roll out their best forwards against their opponents’ worst defensive pairings and back checkers when they're playing at the Saddledome.
When they lose that advantage on the road, guys like Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay have to face their opponents’ best and they just don’t have the creativity or skill to consistently produce against a solid shutdown line. The rest of the team obviously can’t pick up the goal scoring slack.
It also goes to show that star goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is a lot shakier in enemy territory. Calgary has been scored on 107 times on the road compared to 73 at home. If you do the math, that averages out to an extra goal against on the road per game.
That’s bad news because any of the teams they’ll potentially face in Round 1 (Nashville, Anaheim, Vancouver, Detroit) are solid offensively and defensively right down to the bottom of the depth chart.
After Saturday’s overtime loss to Tampa Bay, I’m even starting to question if they have enough heart to muster any wins at home in the postseason.
Saturday’s tilt was the first time the Bolts had visited Cowtown since the 2004 Stanley Cup final, a series the Flames eventually lost in Game 7. This was their chance to get a little payback and build some momentum for the upcoming postseason.
Oddsmakers tagged them as big -177 favorites, but I thought it was a fair price considering their motivation and how strong they’ve been at home. But the Flames end up taking two stupid stick penalties in overtime and giving the Bolts the winning goal on the power play.
No road savvy, no discipline and not enough desire. These Flames will probably be the worst squad in the playoffs and easy money for anyone who fades them.
Five-minute major for destroying Edmonton’s value: This goes to Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, who ripped the heart right out of this club when he traded Ryan Smyth to the Islanders just before the deadline.
Lowe said the move was all about “winning Stanley Cups”, but they’ve lost every game since the deal along with 6.29 units.
Anyone with any knowledge of the Oilers shouldn’t be surprised by this. The only way he could demoralize the team any worse would be to demolish that statue of Wayne Gretzky that stands just outside Rexall Place and replace it with ones of Mike Comrie and Chris Pronger.
Ten-minute misconduct for stifling the Isles’ potential: Whistling down Chris Simon, who sidetracked the Islanders just as they were poised to make some serious coin.
New York had just acquired defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Oilers, pulled off an amazing blockbuster deal to get Ryan Smith and was set to start moving up the Eastern Conference standings. But then Simon whacked Rangers center Ryan Hollweg in the chops with his stick, leaving his teammates to deal with a media firestorm.
Simon’s suspension has been handed down, but the New York District Attorney may still press charges and the Islanders will be endlessly hounded by reporters for their comments.
These incidents and the ensuing distractions have a history of being lethal to a team’s profitability. The Canucks came up with only one payday in seven games after the infamous Todd Bertuzzi incident three years ago. The Bruins also won just five of their last 22 games back in 2000 after Marty McSorley clubbed Vancouver’s Donald Brashear over the head.