First, the brief historical background.
Only once before in NHL history have a pair of brothers managed to win NHL scoring titles. It happened back in the 1940s, when Doug Bentley, then with the Chicago Blackhawks, won the only Art Ross trophy of his career in 1943, edging Boston Bruins' Bill Cowley by a single point. Two years later, his brother Max won the first of his back-to-back scoring titles (1946 and 1947). In 1946, Max also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player; brother Doug was the runner-up to Cowley in '43, the closest he ever came to capturing the Hart.
The Bentleys' achievements from another era are a matter of some interest as the Vancouver Canucks play out the string and try to gear up for playoffs because the Sedin twins are poised to do something that's unprecedented in NHL history - two brothers winning the NHL scoring title in back-to-back seasons.
Henrik won last year (in part because Daniel missed 19 games with an injury), and now Daniel is poised to duplicate the feat, having a five-point lead over his closest competitor, the Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis, with only five days to go in the NHL regular season.
Moreover, if Daniel goes on to win the Hart as MVP (and as the best player on the best team in hockey, he is considered the favourite), that will also be the first time in history that two brothers have managed the feat as well.
Previously, there has been one father-son combination to earn the Hart - Bobby Hull won it in 1965 and 1966, and then Brett Hull managed it in 1991 - but no brother combinations have ever managed it, even though the Bentleys came close. And while Bobby Hull also won the scoring title three different times, the closest Brett ever came was finishing as the runner-up to Wayne Gretzky in that same '91 season.
The Sedins have been answering questions about the possibility of scoring championships and MVP trophies for going on a month now and their refrain is familiar: It would be a nice achievement, but the primary focus right now is taking the Canucks as deep as they possibly can go in the playoffs. A year of individual achievement would be undermined if the NHL's top regular-season team were to stumble along the playoff path.
The Canucks have lost back-to-back games to the cellar-dwelling Edmonton Oilers, but prior to yesterday's game, Daniel Sedin told reporters: "You try to come into every game and play as solid as you can. Our goal the last few years has been to be consistent every night. That's more key to us than scoring goals or scoring points. Obviously, I'm in a position to have a chance to win it, but it's nothing I really think about. Probably more after you're done playing."Report Typo/Error