Dan Hamhuis was the guest on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours Saturday night.
The Canucks haven’t been on HNIC a whole lot this season, which, when you think about it, sort of makes sense. Between their surprise Presidents’ Trophy win and the Stanley Cup run, they got a lot of screentime last year. You can understand why the CBC would want to spread the coverage around a bit during the regular season, especially since it seems likely that the Canucks will be the only Canadian team to talk to once the playoffs reach the second round — unless they underachieve or Ottawa, Winnipeg or Calgary overachieves.
(For what it’s worth, this new equity of coverage policy would be a lot easier to stomach if the Leafs didn’t remain exempt from it. But I digress.)
But Hamhuis’s appearance on the postgame chat program made it two weeks in a row for Vancouver players after Kevin Bieksa took to the chair last week. The back-to-back appearances for the two members of the Canucks’ top shutdown pairing made for a stark contrast. Where a fancily-dressed Bieksa mugged, smirked, quipped, and gum-chewed his way through nearly twenty minutes of awkwardly hilarious airtime, a sleepy-eyed Hamhuis respectfully gave mumbled, measured, straightforward answers to questions.
But, while the entertainment value may have dipped, there’s still some pretty good stuff in here.
A few additional thoughts:
Unsurprisingly, the funniest moment of the interview still manages to come from Bieksa, who told Oake to “ask Dan where he and Vern Fiddler got their Christmas tree when they played together in Milwaukee.” As it turns out, Hamhuis and Fiddler tried to steal a tree from the median of a city street. Considering all that’s transpired between Fiddler and Bieksa, one wonders if this wasn’t an attempt to get Fiddler arrested. Granted, it would have also meant a Hamhuis arrest, but no good revenge plan is without casualties.
I was really interested to hear Hamhuis’s take on the difference between this year and last year. “When we win, it’s expected,” he said. “Wins this year haven’t been as exciting, it seems like. And losses are traumatic for us. We don’t expect to lose. It’s been a bit of a different year, dealing with those expectations.” This describes the fan and media reactions, but I suspect Hamhuis was talking about the mindset inside the locker rom as well. You wonder if this is a large part of the reason this team has looked uninspired for long stretches.
Craig Simpson asks better questions than Kevin Weekes. But his suits are much blander.
Hamhuis on the Lucic hipcheck: “I think I just got a little bit outside my stance… Obviously, Lucic is a huge guy and the weight of him coming down on me… it blew out my groin, tore off the hip hone and I had a hernia as well, all in the same place.” Holy cow. No wonder we haven’t seen any hipchecks this year. That’s terrifying. As Hamhuis later says, “I think I might be a little tentative.” This is a crazy quote. How often do you get an NHLer admitting that a freak injury has made him afraid to return to one of his bread-and-butter moves? This necessitated follow-up questions and it’s a shame they weren’t asked.
Hamhuis losing his nerve on hipchecks is too bad, because when P.K. Subban walked by at 7:15, I would have loved to see Hamhuis step into him.
And finally, remember when Community Man and Community Manny built a playground? Hamhuis actually drove by the other night to check on it. I just thought that was a really cool thing to do.
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