Just when we all thought my CHB colleague Richard Loat was the only man in the world who would follow Jannik Hansen to the ends of the earth, we hear about Danish press photographer and Canucks fan Brian Poulsen.
Poulsen, 32, was also born in Hansen’s hometown in Denmark called Rodovre, and as part of his job as a photographer, Poulsen has been able to travel to Manitoba and Vancouver to shoot Denmark’s newest hockey hero, #36.
“I’ve actually been to Vancouver to shoot a couple of Vancouver games,” Poulsen says. “Unfortunately Hansen was out with a groin injury when I was there. It was in the 2008/2009 season when the Canucks played Phoenix. Another guy from Rodovre was playing for Phoenix – Mikkel Boedker so they would have been the first two Danish players to ever play against each other.”
Technically, Poulsen’s only been a Canucks fan since 2004, when Vancouver drafted Hansen. Before that, he liked the Rangers and grew up idolizing Brian Leetch.
There’s really no point in wondering who Poulsen’s favourite Canuck is at the moment. Really, he’s been following Hansen for quite some time, watching the blond forward progress in the NHL.
“Having watched him play with a full cage on the men’s team here as a 16-year old, it’s been great to watch him evolve into the player he is today,” he says.
Like the rest of our international fans profiled on Canucks Hockey Blog, Poulsen has to wake up at a ridiculous time to watch a game.
“Being in Denmark, the time difference is 9 hours so I watch the games on my computer. Thank god for ESPN360!” he says. “This means I set the alarm for 4 a.m. to watch hockey. I can usually get an hour and a half of sleep before I have to get up and go to work.”
Interrupting REM for the Canucks? This guy’s a trooper, folks.
“Despite this, I think I’ve only missed somewhere between 5 or 10 Canuck games all season long. The TV station that shows hockey here usually shows east coast games because they are 1 a.m. starts and not 4 a.m. starts.”
Like most Canucks fans who lived through the Chicago series, Poulsen is hopeful about the team’s odds.
“I think this is the year where the Canucks go all the way,” he says. “Everything else would be considered a disappointment. I’m sure everybody feels that way.”
And as for individual player performances, Hansen’s first few games have not escaped Poulsen’s trained eye.
“So far the Jannik Hansen has stepped up his game in the playoffs, but I hope a guy like Burrows will do it too,” he says, although Poulsen’s answers were submitted before the Canucks’ Game 7 win against the Chicago Blackhawks so, really, he got what he wanted.
“The whole first line has to get it going. So far that has only happened in game 2 of the series against Chicago. They make or break the post-season in my mind.”
And there’s no doubt about that no matter where you live. It’s not a secret that the Sedins (mainly Henrik) need to step up their game if the Canucks are to go far and live up to Poulsen’s, and the rest of Canucks Nations’, expectations. We all await the return of the Art Ross brothers in Round 2.
And just when I thought we were going to get an interesting version of “Go Canucks Go!” Poulsen goes and tells me:
“Go Canucks Go in Danish is pretty much the same. We actually use quite a few English words here.”
Well, at least that’s good news for Richard if he ever takes his bro-mance with #36 overseas.
Poulsen will be closely watching Hansen’s hard-hitting performance for the rest of the playoffs from Denmark and, if we’re all lucky, the outcome will not be disappointing.