In the NHL playoffs, it's always something, or someone.
Just as the pace and intensity of hockey are elevated come playoff time, so is the scrutiny. And in a hockey-crazed market such as Vancouver, that examination can test the resilience of the most veteran player.
In Round 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo who was the subject of relentless analysis by dime-store psychologists everywhere. Now it's the Sedins' turn.
It's a testament to the team game the Canucks play that they dispatched the reigning Stanley Cup champions without their two top players performing as such. And in the first two games of Round 2, the Sedins have mostly been missing in action.
They were irrelevant in Vancouver's 1-0 series-opening win against the Nashville Predators. And in Saturday night's 2-1 overtime loss, the back-to-back winners of the Art Ross trophy only seemed to be noticeable after regulation.
But neither Daniel nor Henrik, who has yet to score in these playoffs, could beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. The Sedins have three points between them in the last six games. Even more uncharacteristically, collectively they are minus 13.
"We've been through this a lot and we know we have to score more," Daniel told reporters following the OT loss Saturday night. "We need to get more shots and grind it out. This is the way they [Nashville]play."
You seldom, if ever, detect panic in the Sedins' voices. It's one of their attributes that makes them so good. Alarm often leads to greater deterioration in the performance of an athlete who is struggling. Hearing one of the brothers concede they need to be doing more at the offensive end of the ice is about as close as you'll hear them come to expressing any kind of anxiety about their game.
Only a day earlier, Daniel said that other than Game 4 against Chicago, he thought he and his brother had played pretty well in the postseason. And it's not as if they are pointless. Daniel has seven points and Henrik five, but you expect two of the top players in the league to be more of a consistent presence in games.
But other than a couple of early outings against the Blackhawks in which they accumulated most of their points, they have not been a consistent presence.
Some people are waiting for the Sedins to put their game into that extra gear that so many players find come playoff time. Those people will be waiting a long time. The Sedins have never dazzled anyone with their speed, although it has improved greatly since they arrived in the league. They are half-court players and will remain so for the rest of their careers.
The question, and this has always been the question about the Sedins at playoff time, is whether they can be as effective with the tighter checking that inevitably comes with the postseason. So far, they don't seem to have solved that puzzle, at least not with any regularity.
In Saturday night's game, the twins received the ultimate diss when Predators coach Barry Trotz moved his shut-down tandem of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter off them and on to Ryan Kesler's line.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault has rotated some other wingers on the Sedins' line. For most of the season, the Sedins created magic with Alex Burrows. But against Chicago, Burrows was moved off that line in favour of Mikael Samuelsson, who has struggled mightily in these playoffs.
Meantime, Burrows has played so well alongside Kesler, Vigneault is understandably reluctant to reunite him with his season-long linemates.
Anyone looking for the Sedins to break out and have the kind of multigoal, multipoint outing that was common during the regular season may have to wait a while. It's not likely to happen in this series. In two games, and almost eight periods of hockey, there have been a total of four goals. That doesn't look to change.
At this point, Canucks fans would take anything from the Sedins. A goal in overtime Saturday would have been nice. But the way this series is going, there could well be other opportunities for them to be OT heroes.
But they're not panicking. They never do.Report Typo/Error