It’s largely acknowledged that this past year, Daniel ‘stepped up his game’ so that his brother, having won an Art Ross and a Hart Trophy, wouldn’t take all the accolades. This always bugged me. They play on the same line, see all their shifts together and play a style of game that encourages multiple touches of the puck between them.
Let’s say Daniel really did have a chip on his shoulder and began last season intentionally trying to get more points than Henrik. So what, he passes back to the point more often? Looks for Burrows more than his brother? It’s crazy to suggest that Daniel would pass up an opportunity to make a play just to show up his brother.
But ultimately he DID show up his brother. So the key question is: how?
To try and answer this question I looked at all the goals scored in the last two seasons (the two Art Ross winning seasons) where only ONE Sedin received a point.
In 2009-10, this occurred 55 times, with Daniel scoring 14 points sans Henrik and Henrik scoring 41 points sans Daniel. Discounting the games where Daniel was injured, that’s 36 total times, with Henrik scoring 22 sans Daniel.
In 2010-11, it occurred 52 times, with Daniel scoring 31 sans Henrik and Henrik scoring 21 sans Daniel.
Here are the numbers :
The first thing I notice is that in 10/11 Daniel got almost 50% of his PSB on the powerplay (15/31), jumping up dramatically from the past year. In fact, Daniel’s PSB numbers increased in all situations and overall, although the increase in even strength points is not that dramatic. Henrik, in contrast, was quite stable, recording similar numbers without his brother in total as the previous year (a decline in ES PSB tempered by an increase in PP PSB).
The only dramatic increase in the above table I see is in how many power play points Daniel accrued without his brother. Even accounting for the dramatically improved powerplay, he still doubled the PSB of Henrik. This is noteworthy.
I have to say, I’m quite surprised. I figured that, given Henrik’s PP role on half boards, he’d be the one to outscore Daniel. Obviously, Kesler’s presence in front of the net changed the strategy such that Daniel was able to touch the puck more and Henrik wasn’t. Or maybe it’s as simple as teams keying on Henrik instead of Daniel?
Regardless, this is a topic that I think is quite interesting and I will continue to delve into it more. I plan to look at who was assisting on these goals and see if Daniel had especially strong chemistry with anyone, say Ehrhoff? (What might that mean for next year since he’s gone?) Even if that’s the case, I also plan to watch the goals themselves in order to see if maybe it’s just a coaching thing (or teams are focusing more on Henrik or something).