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Canucks coach Alain Vigneault deflects blame from the Sedin twins

Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 28: Head Coach Alain Vigneault (middle) speaks with Henrik Sedin #33 and Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks during a timeout in the third period in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Nashville Predators during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 28, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Rich Lam

While assessing the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators, I must admit that I was a little hard on the Sedin twins. Maybe a little too hard.

Sure, their combined -7 rating from Game 5 looks bad out of context. Yet when you look at the goals scored against them, it was typically a different Vancouver player making the turnover/mistake. Plus/minus can be a misleading stat since it benefits or reprimands an entire set of players when sometimes it’s the error of a single skater (or goalie).

Ultimately, the Sedin twins do need to produce more points, though. Ryan Kesler is carrying this team in this second round series, but if the Canucks hope to beat either the Detroit Red Wings or San Jose Sharks if they get through the Predators, they’ll need more from Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Head coach Alain Vigneault must be aware of the importance of keeping an even keel. He made the wise choice to deflect blame from them when asked about their plus/minus ratings.

“Those are unfair stats,” Vigneault said of the plus-minus. “They couldn’t do anything about [Alex] Edler putting the puck into our net. They couldn’t do anything on the [Mikael] Samuelsson turnover and they couldn’t do anything on the other two turnovers. Sometimes, that’s an unfair stat.

“They’re working extremely well and hard. They are guys who are supposed to put points up and I’m supporting them 100 per cent. The points are going to come.”

Daniel has nine points (5-4) in a dozen game but is bothered by the plus-minus wart.

“Absolutely,” said the winger. “That’s always been something we’ve been focusing on and yesterday [Saturday] was one of those games and we had one against Chicago, too. They hurt us, but we’ve got to bounce back.”

Fair or not, playoff performances have a huge impact on players’ legacies. If the Sedin twins want to be respected as some of the best players in the NHL, they’ll need to find the net with greater frequency. Getting almost there isn’t quite good enough at this level.