Nov 302009

It’s no secret that I have been a Hansen fan. I fell in love with the guy from the moment he was called up and played his first game as a Canuck in the playoff series against Dallas. It’s been an interesting journey watching him battle injury and overcome adversity at some of the most inopportune times to place himself where he is today as he’s grown as a player.

During the preseason Hansen was considered to be a “bubble player” and after being convinced to sign a two way contract his roster spot was all but guaranteed. What at this point can only be seen as, as fortuitous, was Hansen’s fist shattering fight with the face of Gilbert Brule. After missing the first 19 games of the season and slotting in amongst those others returning from injury, Hansen has proved that he deserves a roster spot. Since returning he’s been a noticeable player night in and night out and has even managed to produce offensively in the few games he’s had to play notching 2 goals, 2 assists and a rating of +3.

He’s making the little plays that are helping the Canucks turn up ice. He’s mastered the chip-and-go, he’s one of the best Canucks checkers on the ice, and the important thing is he’s not invisible. Far too often in this season that is still young, the Canucks checking lines have been invisible. Be it even strength or the penalty kill, very time Hansen is on the ice he’s visible and making the right play. He’s even demonstrated he can turn up ice on a dime and is creating the odd man advantage. Hansen was at one point on the bubble, however his consistent play and versatility as a role player has for the time being solidified his position on the team. You need to be able to roll four lines to be a contender, the fact that our 3rd line is getting in on the secondary scoring is a bonus that can certainly be linked in part due to the smart plays Hansen is making and attempting to create.

He’s over looked quite often because of the other drama surrounding the team, however night in and night out he’s making the most of his ice time and the fact that he’s going unnoticed, while being visible on the ice and making his presence known attests to the fact that he’s doing his job.

Jul 152009

According to a Danish website, the Vancouver Canucks have offered Jannik Hansen a new two-way contract; however, Hansen is looking for a one-way deal.

Hansen was one of only 4 Canucks given a qualifying offer – O’Brien (since signed to a 1-year, $1.6 million deal), Wellwood (going arbitration) and McIver are the others – is obviously a sign that the team wants him back. The above-mentioned piece even provides a quote from Canucks GM Mike Gillis (rough translation from Google):

There’s no limit to how far Jannik Hansen can go. With his quick skating and ability to go straight to the net, he has the potential to be a top player in the NHL. His own work will determine how far he goes.

The piece sounds rosy and all, though I’m not sure Hansen has cemented a spot on the Canucks roster enough to think that this deal will be done. At least not with the Canucks anyway.

Hansen doesn’t have much leverage. He had a good start to last season (31 GP, 4G-13A-17P before Christmas), but frequently found himself in the press box near the end of it (24 GP, 2G-2A-4P after Christmas). In the process, Kyle Wellwood and Rick Rypien passed him on the depth chart. With Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner, and perhaps to a lesser extent, Jordan Schroeder also making a push to make the team next season, Hansen’s contract talks with Gillis may very much come down to a numbers game. Unfortunately for Hansen, the numbers don’t stack well in his favor. I doubt Hansen is the kind of guy Aquilini would want to be paying NHL bucks to play in the AHL – as would be the case on a one-way deal – and without arbitration rights, he may well have to bite the bullet or realize his potential for another organization.

May 222009

- It appears I’m jumping on the Penguins bandwagon for the rest of the playoffs. The Wings don’t need another Cup. As much as like a bunch of their players, as a whole team I just can’t get behind them. I’ve tried embracing this crush on the Blackhawks that the NHL keeps pimpin, but I can’t do it. They’re kind of whiney and I find I giggle too much when they do badly. The Canes are pretty cool actually. But I’m chillin with the Penguins because of two things

1) MALKIN. His hat trick last night, especially the third goal, was mesmerizing. I could watch it over and over. He makes me want to learn Russian and have him over to make perogies and drink vodka. We can play his highlight video in the background. And how adorable were his parents in the stands?

2) LETANG! He is beautiful to watch skate and he has the most magical long flowing hair. I mean I really do want to ask him what product he uses because my hair never looks that good. TSN had a lovely but rather heartbreaking interview with Letang about how he still thinks of Luc Bourdon. H/T to wraparoundcurl. It’s hard to believe it was almost a year ago. RIP. You can’t help but cheer on Letang’s team, honestly.

- I’m not too fond of this Neidermayer brother rumour. I’d rather they worry about getting the identical brothers we already do have re signed. I’m not particularly fond of either of them, but even looking past my lack of fondness, I don’t think there’s enough cash. Scott would probably average what 5 or 6 million? Then his bro would probably want around 1.5/2 ish? It seems like Rob wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over the third/fourth line guys we already have. I suppose Scott by himself would make some sense. I’m still thinking Gillis walks away from this though.

- The Flyers are rumoured to have offered the Canucks Jeff Carter for Lui and the rights to negotiate with Matty Ohlund with possible other smaller profile players involved as well. Now, I am not on this weird trade Lui train at all and I know Gillis said he wouldn’t but Jeff Carter would be pretty damn nice to have around. Just close your eyes and imagine it for funsies. That wrist shot makes me purr…

- I think next season will be fun to watch with this little youth movement that’s starting to happen. Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner have a shot to make the team. I hope Gillis manages to make offers to Jannik Hansen and Welly and Ripper. SOB was an adventure this year but was also really solid at times. I hope he gets re signed. It’s certainly not going to be boring at the very least. I’m already jonesing for new Canucks hockey. Is it September yet?

May 052009

With word that Demitra is a game time decision and the glass factory we acquired him from are not replacing him under warranty, word has it that if Demitra is out, Pyatt is in. Pyatt coming in bumps Raymond up to the second line and then it’s game on.

We’re playing a team that is fast. Reality check, they’re faster than a lot of our team. So why is Pyatt slotted in? We certainly don’t need his size. If Mitchell and Bieksa along with the rest of the blue line can do their job, then size shouldn’t be an issue. What this team needs is a bit more speed and Hansen who’s been a healthy scratch for the better part of the second half of the season needs to see some game time action. Heck, even throwing in Jeff Cowan would be better than Pyatt.

I’m not here to rag on Pyatt, I do that enough, but the bottom line is we need to start hitting harder, and skating faster. Right now the Blackhawks are beating us at both of those and they shouldn’t. We are bigger, and while we can’t necessarily skate faster, we can make minor adjustments to keep pace with them. Pyatt is a big body, but that’s not what we need in game 3. We need to step out there and start flying from the moment the puck drops. Flying both on the ice, and in the air.

Pyatt getting the start is going to be an interesting decision. While he’s been mentally exhausted as of late, he does come as a fresh body, then again so does Hansen. If he can play the same way he was playing towards the end of the second half of the season before tradgedy hit, we might be okay. He’s a big boy that handles himself like an awkward puppy at times. I still maintain we need speed over size and Hansen wins out in that category. Pyatt’s never been an energy player and that’s something I’d even be willing to turn to Cowan for. We have the depth, this is the precise situation Gillis planned for, it’s time to take advantage of that.

May 032009

The Canucks CAN win in Chicago. It’s not a matter of if they win. It’s a matter of how they win.

The Canucks sit in a position in which they haven’t been in, well ever. They have depth. After Salo scored his power play goal in first period the defense imploded. That was the turning point in the game. The Canucks defense fell apart, they collapsed in on themselves and before you know it, Kane was walking in on Luongo and the game was out of the Canucks control at that point.

During the season after games in which they collapsed and were handily beaten, their next game they rebounded. After falling to the Coyotes 5-1, they came back with a 5-2 win against Turco and the Stars. After losing 4-2 to the Blues in a game where the kids on St. Louis dismantled our defense, we came back with two convincing wins against the Avalanche (4-1) and the Blackhawks (4-0). Even after the 5-1 loss to the Capitals at the beginning of the season, the Canucks came back and beat the Red Wings.

Sami may be out, but Gillis’ heads up forward thinking is about to pay dividends. Insurance acquisition Ossi Vaananen who’s already seen playoff time to replace Salo at the end of the Blues’ series, has proved he can play as a replacement and be defensively responsible. The Canucks have depth on all levels. Stop to think about the fact that if Pyatt were to return, we are so deep he would/could be a 4th line player. Jannik Hansen has been scratched for the better half of the last 20 games, and if we were to lose another defenseman, we have the services of Rob Davison sitting in the press box.

The Canucks suffered a minor setback Saturday night. That shouldn’t affect how they do on Tuesday. They have an extra day to lick their wounds, and while the shot of Salo will be sorely missed on the point, the Canucks have the pieces in place to continue without major hiccups caused by injury. They rebounded during the regular season, and after facing their first post season loss in this year’s playoffs, it’s time for them to bounce back again.

Feb 242009
Feb 232009
Jan 162009
Jan 072009
Jan 062009

Cory Schneider and Jannik Hansen are both headed back to the Manitoba Moose.

The Schneider move wasn’t a surprise given last week’s acquisition of Jason LaBarbera and the return of Curtis Sanford. Schneider showed glimpses of how good he can be, but truth be told, he’s not quite ready for regular NHL duty just yet. He’s best served playing every night for the Moose than playing once a week with the Canucks.

The Hansen move was a bit more surprising. With Sundin about to join the lineup, we knew the Canucks had to move a body. I’m just surprised it was Hansen. While he’s cooled off of late, his numbers have been very good. Among rookies, he sits 10th in total points (17) and is tied for 4th in assists (13). He’s proven himself to be a versatile player, playing mostly on the checking and energy lines but also doing spot duty with the Sedins on the top line. I know I could be biased in saying this, but I wouldn’t have thought it to be out of the ordinary if he was selected for the Young Stars game.

Unfortunately for Hansen, he became a victim of the numbers game. A couple of things that worked against him:

1) Because he hasn’t played in 70 NHL games yet, he doesn’t have to go through waivers.

2) The ripple effect in the lineup caused by Sundin’s arrival would have pretty much demoted him to the fourth line where he would get somewhere between 6 and 9 minutes of ice-time per game; Jason Jaffray and Alexandre Bolduc are better suited for this role. Like Schneider, Hansen’s probably best served by playing a lot of minutes in Manitoba instead.

Regardless, I wouldn’t count him out just yet. As the 287th overall pick in his draft class, he already beat the odds by making it to the NHL in the first place. He’ll make it back soon enough.

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