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John Tortorella: The Sedins 'aren't soft people'

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Canucks head coach John Tortorella came to the defense of the Sedins. (USATSI)
Canucks head coach John Tortorella came to the defense of the Sedins Friday. (USATSI)

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In the wake of Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin re-upping with the Vancouver Canucks with four-year extensions, their head coach wanted to address the ongoing narrative that the Swedish twin brothers are soft. Basically, John Tortorella vehemently disagrees with that assessment, which has been a narrative that has been floated for years.

From the Toronto Sun:

"I'm not sure who started it, but I'm sure there are a couple of know-it-alls out there who always talk about it,” Tortorella said. “But they don't have a clue what these guys are about.

“In our league, I think we act like idiots sometimes when that (stuff) sticks with them after you watch them play.

“I've been dying to talk about that. These aren't soft people. These aren't soft players. I've had the honour, in this short time, to be with them, up close and personal and see how hard they work and see what they do on the ice.

“It pisses me off, the reputation that's still out there. It's so undeserving and so disrespectful.”

Tortorella went on to give examples of why the two most productive forwards in Canucks history are not fit for such a reputation.

“They play underneath the hash marks in the tough areas,” Tortorella said. “I just think people pop off who don't have a clue what they are saying and it sticks.

“You watch how hard they play on the boards, how they protect pucks. You kind of get lost with their skill, and you think that's what they're about and you say ‘Oh, they're soft people.'

Tortorella is right. It's been a pretty lazy assessment of two players who have been among the league's best producers over the last two years. The Sedins are not supposed to be bangers out there. They're supposed to put up points and it is important they stay healthy.

The duo has led the Canucks in scoring every year since 2006-07. They're vital to their team. They're not going to get in any fights. If that makes them soft, then so be it, but it shouldn't.

This has to be heartening for Daniel and Henrik to see a hard-nosed coach who preaches toughness come to their defense so strongly.

In an interview with Hockey Night in Canada radio, J.P. Barry, agent for the Sedins, admitted there was a bit of a “testing the waters” with Tortorella before the twins signed their extensions. Comments like these from the head coach Friday can only help solidify that relationship.

After all, if the Canucks keep playing like they have lately, Tortorella and the Sedins could be together for a while.

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