Now that he's become the first Vancouver Canuck to win an NHL scoring title, Henrik Sedin is setting his sights on a bigger goal.
Sedin clinched the Art Ross Trophy on Sunday with 112 points after Washington Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin was held without a point against the Boston Bruins. But the Canucks centre, who recorded four assists in Vancouver's final regular season game Saturday, a 7-3 walloping of the Calgary Flames, was thinking playoffs instead of personal accomplishments before he knew his scoring race fate.
The Canucks, who won the Northwest Division title and finished third in the Western Conference, will face the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round."Now, we can leave the regular season behind and look ahead to the exciting part of the season," said Sedin.
A continuation of his fine regular season in the playoffs will add to the excitement of Canuck fans, who chanted "MVP! MVP!" at the conclusion of Saturday's game in a bid to bolster his chances of winning the Hart Trophy. The Hart goes to the player who is more valuable to his club than any player on any other team in the league.
Ovechkin's Capitals barely missed a beat without him, going 7-2-1 as he missed 10 games to injuries and suspensions. Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller is considered the other serious threat to Sedin claiming the Hart.
Whatever happens, there is no doubting Henrik Sedin's heart – or his humility. He gives much of the credit for his career year to his twin brother Daniel, who achieved a career-best 85 points despite missing 18 games to a broken foot.
"He's been unbelievable," says Henrik. "From the day he came back from injury and then to be as consistent as we've been, he's had a remarkable season. That's why I am where I am right now."
Henrik, who repeatedly dismissed his chances of winning a scoring crown during the season, also praises winger Alex Burrows, who scored a career-high 35 goals this season after many thought he would fall back from the previous high of 28 set last season.
"He never stops revising his game," says Henrik. "He took another step this year. It's a lot of fun to play with him. We really enjoy playing with him."
Burrows and Daniel Sedin helped "Humble Hank" surpass the franchise record of 110 points set by Pavel Bure in 1992-93. Henrik is a sharp contrast from the flashy Russian Rocket, who was a poster boy for self-centredness at times during his stay in Vancouver, which ended acrimoniously.
Off the ice, Henrik and his twin showed their unselfishness by donating $1.5 million to build the intensive care unit and diagnostics and imaging area at the new B.C. Children's Hospital. On the ice, Henrik's giving ways are epitomized by his preference to pass instead of shoot.
But he attributes some of his success this season to a greater willingness to direct the puck on net.
"I've tried to shoot more and that's really helped our line, I think," the Swede says, adding he has tried to shoot from different angles.
He recorded a career-high 29 goals along with an NHL-high 83 assists while playing a full 82-game schedule. Still, he has faced a major disappointment this season.
His Swedish team missed out on the medals at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics after capturing gold four years earlier. But the Olympic experience has provided insight on the effort needed to bring home the Stanley Cup, he says. And winning Lord Stanley's silver chalice will mean more than Olympic glory.
"I think it will be a bigger thing for us to win the Stanley Cup than winning the Olympics," says Henrik. "It's more of a grind. In the Olympics, you need to be lucky and you need to have a few bounces here and there. So the Stanley Cup is what we're looking forward to."
Daniel Sedin says a Stanley Cup title would also put into perspective the unprecedented crowd reaction that Henrik received in their final regular-season game.
"It feels good," says Daniel of his brother's achievement. "But at the same time, it's not going to mean much if we don't go all the way."