By Kevin Woodley – NHL.com
Henrik Sedin did his best to downplay the milestone all week, but when the Vancouver Canucks captain saw teammates jumping off the bench to celebrate his 1,000th NHL point at Rogers Arena on Friday, it was hard to hold back the emotion.
Sedin scored 5:50 into the second period of a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers to become the first player to reach 1,000 playing for the Canucks.
“When I saw my teammates come on the ice I lost it a little,” Henrik said. “It was very special. If I retired today, I think that was the most memorable moment for me as a player.”
Sedin is the 85th player to score 1,000 NHL points, the 38th to do it with one franchise, and the fourth who was born in Sweden.
The milestone goal came on a pass from twin brother, Daniel Sedin, who sent Henrik in alone in tight for a backhand deke between the legs of former teammate and good friend Roberto Luongo. The Canucks bench emptied to celebrate in the corner to Luongo’s left, and the Panthers goalie came out of his crease with congratulations for Henrik as he skated back to the bench.
“I didn’t know how to feel,” said Luongo, who played eight seasons in Vancouver. “Obviously I was happy for Hank but not too happy for myself that I let that in. Well-deserved on his part.”
“I don’t know if you can really envision it,” Henrik said. “Everything was good about it. We got a big win. It was nice [Edler] and Danny had the helpers. They’ve played for a long time and are two good friends. That was special. I think the best part by far was my teammates coming out on the ice and celebrating with me. That’s something I will remember forever.”
Play was halted as the crowd at Rogers Arena gave Henrik a standing ovation while he remained alone on the ice in front of the Vancouver bench, saluting the fans with waves and clapping his hands above his head. A video tribute was played during the next break in action, highlighting some of the biggest moments since the Canucks selected him No. 3 in the 1999 NHL Draft, one pick after Daniel.
“Very special to do it on home ice in front of our fans,” Henrik said. “It just couldn’t be better.”
Sedin has 233 goals and 767 assists in 1,213 games in 16 seasons in the NHL, all with Vancouver. The 36-year-old center has 11 goals and 19 assists this season. He didn’t get an assist on Luca Sbisa‘s winning goal early in the third period but he started the play that led to it.
“That’s the stuff dreams are made of,” Sbisa said of the milestone. “That’s what I dream about when I go to bed. Maybe in my next life I’ll get 1,000 points. It’s special to be a part of this. He’s a guy most of us have been watching since we were kids. It was nice to be out there with him on the ice.”
Mats Sundin (1,349), Daniel Alfredsson (1,157) and Nicklas Lidstrom (1,142) are the other Sweden-born players with 1,000 NHL points.
Sedin had an NHL career-high 112 points (29 goals, 83 assists) in the 2009-10 season, when he won the Hart and Art Ross trophies. He led the NHL in assists three consecutive seasons (2009-10 through 2011-12) and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
The Sedins and Luongo helped the Canucks advance to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which they lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
“He’s played a long time with good teammates,” Daniel said of Henrik. “I think he’s very proud.”