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Five thoughts about Daniel Sedin's amazing hatless hat trick

If I have one complaint about Daniel Sedin's hat trick Saturday night versus the Chicago Blackhawks, it's that the schedule didn't give us much time to savour it.

If I have one complaint about Daniel Sedin's hat trick Saturday night versus the Chicago Blackhawks, it's that the schedule didn't give us much time to savour it. The Canucks were back at it on Sunday, and unsurprisingly, they didn't really have the energy necessary to win the second game of a back-to-back versus the visiting Devils, especially as they continued to recover from that lengthy Eastern road trip. So they lost, immediately overshadowing the previous night's win, and just like that, Daniel's hat trick was relegated to history.

But dammit, I'm not done thinking or talking about it. So let's go back there, because I have five thoughts.

1. Damn.

Let's start with the visceral reaction: holy heck, that was some hot hot hockey. I mean, my word, look at the hat trick goal and tell me you can find fault with any part of it:

That's as perfect a give-and-go as you're ever going to see. After Jannik Hansen feeds Daniel Sedin streaking down the far wall, Henrik Sedin leaves his lane in the middle of the ice to slide in behind Daniel for the drop pass. Once the handoff is complete, Daniel cuts in to Henrik's vacated centre lane while backing off the Chicago defenders in the process.

But at the precise moment a mildly confused Michal Rozsival decides to let Daniel past him so that he can step up and challenge Henrik, the twins exchange the puck again, with Henrik saucering it over Rozsival's stick to his brother, and Daniel redirecting it out of mid-air past Corey Crawford.

It's beautiful. It's like a passage from The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but on ice. Look at the skill on display as the puck goes from Henrik to Daniel to the back of the net:




2. Throw a flippin' hat. 

Considering how baffled the Blackhawks are on this play, I guess you can forgive the Rogers Arena crowd for being equally discombobulated in the aftermath. Tey were supposed to throw hats. Somehow, only one or two made it to ice level. This is unacceptable.

We throw hats around these parts. That's just how it's done. I don't care if you really like the hat you came in with. That's no excuse. That's on you. Never go to a hockey game wearing a hat you're not willing to part with if the situation calls for it, and friends, the situation called for it. This was Daniel Sedin, likely first ballot Hall-of-Famer, once in a lifetime player, getting it done at the ripe old age of 35, or, as its known in these parts, "hockey 50". If that's not worth a tossed hat, then nothing is.

Fortunately, we were able to litter the digital ice with caps, thanks to the #tweetdanielahat hashtag, and I'll bet that if Daniel Sedin was on Twitter, he would have really appreciated it. The movement began with yours truly. Frustrated by the stinginess of Rogers Arena's behatted, I turned to Twitter, whose users have never been difficult to rile up.



Thus, the hats began to flow. Some people tweeted lots of hats:



Others tweeted one very specific hat. Like this one:


Or this one:


Enough hats hit the ice for the hashtag to trend in Canada and garner a mention on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. Although the movement was hardly exclusive to Canada. This dude tossed a Vancouver Grizzlies hat over a balcony in Hawaii:



Meanwhile, in Europe:


But the winner of #TweetDanielAHat, and I think we can all agree, was this video:



If there's another Canuck hat trick this season, I move that we do this all over again.

3. The Sedins have still totally got it.

Consider: that was the first five-point night of Henrik Sedin's career, which means, statistically at least, it was the best game he's ever played. I remind you that Henrik Sedin came into Saturday's game already having accomplished a great deal. Olympic gold, a Stanley Cup Final appearance, two Presidents' trophies, an Art Ross, a Hart. And yet, Saturday night at 35 years old, he gave us his first career five-point game. That's crazy.

The breakout night from the Sedins also pushed them into the top ten in NHL scoring. They may have lost a step -- I don't think there's any question they have -- but it's not stopping them from putting up points at an elite level. That bodes well not just for this year, but in future, as they continue to get up there in years and still find ways to get up there in points.

4. This rebuild might be watchable.

Which also means the rebuild could be far more entertaining than it has any right to be, and yes, I said rebuild. That's what's going on, even if the team won't say it.

But it's not a full rebuild. It can't be when the Sedins are still keeping you respectable. Instead, the Canucks are easing a new group of youngsters into the bottom of the lineup while the Sedins still occupy the top. It's a good approach, since it means none of the prospects are going to be handed too much responsibility too soon, and it also means that the Canucks might remain somewhat competitive, since the Sedins still maintain enough skill to singlehandedly beat the NHL's best team on occasion.

Other rebuilds give us hapless teams full of promise. But so long as the Sedins are on the team, the Canucks will never be hapless: Daniel and Henrik are good for a hap apiece.

5. DAMN.

I mean, seriously. We already looked at the hat trick goal. So now let's take another pass at Daniel's second.

Speaking of passes, this play features your classic Henrik Sedin cross-zone saucer. It leaves his stick at pretty much the exact same spot he fed Daniel for the hat trick. That's his sweet spot, I guess. Anyway, this puck travels a much greater distance:

Tape-to-tape, too. You can actually hear it landing softly on Daniel Sedin's stick. That's special.

Corey Crawford caught some flak for letting this one past him, but in his defence, this simple saucer from Henrik turned a harmless-looking rush into a sudden 3-on-1 down low. And while Daniel used to be known for his shot, he's been more of a playmaker in recent years, which means Crawford needs to respect that Daniel might move the puck to Jannik Hansen or Alex Edler. Taking away the short-side shot is hardly an option for him here. 

Really, this one is on the Blackhawks' defenders. Why would you challenge Henrik Sedin with three defenders at the top of the zone? He's not a threat from there, except to pass the puck to his brother. 99 times out of 100 that's what he's gonna do. You should be minimizing the effect of the pass, not trying to prevent it, since you can't. And as you can see from the screenshot just before it, the effect of this pass is going to be pretty nasty for Chicago: 
Henrik makes the pass. Watch the threat level instantly increase a half-second later:

Yeah, even here you can see Crawford has no hope. What's he supposed to do? Bow in the presence of greatness. The Sedins are the best. I'll say it once more, with feeling: Damn.