Henrik Sedin’s extraordinary ironman streak - 552 consecutive regular season games - could be at an end, as the Vancouver Canucks captain deals with a blow to a right ankle stung by a slapshot on Tuesday night in Nashville.
The blast from Nashville defenceman Kevin Klein in the first period felled Sedin and he had to be helped off the ice. He wasn’t gone long. He assisted on two late first-period goals to put the Canucks up 3-1, on the way to a shootout victory, and was named first star.
An x-ray of the ankle revealed no definitive conclusions, so Sedin underwent a CT scan on Wedesday in Minneapolis, where the Canucks play the Wild Thursday night. Sedin did not practise and was seen half-hobbling through the team’s hotel with a walking boot to protect his ankle.
“I wish I could tell you something,” Canucks assistant coach Newell Brown told Team 1040 radio in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon. The team was waiting for results of the CT scan and Brown said the situation should be clearer by Thursday morning.
Newall saluted Sedin’s performance on Tuesday, saying it is indicative of a toughness that goes largely unrecognized around the NHL. The last time Sedin missed games was before the lockout, in March, 2004, when he was sidelined for six games because of an abdominal strain.
“Hank showed how tough he is, he played through it,” said Brown of Sedin’s return to the ice on Tuesday.
The current NHL ironman is Jay Bouwmeester, the Calgary Flames defenceman, who has played 559 consecutive regular-season games, seven up on Sedin. Earlier this season, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis’s streak was snapped at 499 games.
The record for durability is held by Doug Jarvis, whose mark of 964 is basically untouchable, akin to, or more daunting than, sporting records such as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Jarvis played every regular season game from October, 1975 through October, 1987, playing for the Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and the Hartford Whalers.
There was no suggestion Wednesday that Sedin faced a lengthy absence. The team captain had recently wrested himself from a four-game scoring slump where he had no points. In the past four games, he has five assists, which puts him at 57 points for the season, 11 goals and 46 assists. Sedin led the scoring table earlier this season and now stands No 5, five points behind No 1 Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh.
The Canucks, even with erratic play of late, are delivering Ws, taking wins against the likes of Nashville and last week Detroit, both matches where they did not play at their best but managed to overcome. The team’s 71 points is tied for second in the NHL with the New York Rangers, one behind Detroit.