Jannik Hansen officially became the second Vancouver Canuck playing in Europe when, as expected, he made his debut in Finland’s SM-liiga Thursday. It didn’t take long for him to shake off the rust of the long offseason, either: he contributed 2 assists and the 3-1 goal in a 5-1 Tappara win over KalPa.
The disparity between Hansen’s skill and the rest of the league isn’t quite as vast as Dale Weise’s turn as the Mario Lemieux of the Dutch league, but Hansen is still among the best players currently playing in Finland. And, like Weise, his arrival to his new team necessitated a video interview. Unfortunately, we don’t follow Hansen as he makes his breakfast and pontificates on the cosmic comedy that everyone everywhere eats peanut butter and jelly. Neither does he tell us he couldn’t find the country on a map until he arrived.
But we do get to hear Hansen talk, and if you missed the Great Dane’s quaintly high-pitched, monotone speaking voice, this video’s got the goods:
A few thoughts:
I can’t get enough of the question graphics, which are just two white words on an orange backdrop. Since I don’t speak Finnish and have no idea what they mean, I’m just going to assume every single one is “Got Milk?”
The Canucks always say that Hansen is the best player in practice, and we definitely get a glimpse of Dancin’ Practice Hansen during this clip. He absolutely crushes the 2-on-1 drill with his linemate, leaving a drop pass, crossing over in front of the flat-footed defender, then murdering a one-timer past the goaltender. It was weird, because I thought Hansen’s only 2-on-1 move was trying force a saucer pass through then recovering the deflected puck in the corner.
One positive about the lockout from Hansen’s perspective: if it persists into February, he’ll be able to join the Danish national team for their Olympic qualifiers in February. It’s on his mind, and he admits that being in game shape for that was part of his motivation to head to Europe when he did.
Hansen’s a good sport. When asked about the differences between the SM-liiga and the NHL, he actually manages to eke out a partial answer before pointing out that he hasn’t played a game yet, so he has no idea. “Well, the ice is a little bit bigger,” he says, before speculating on what that might mean.
I don’t know what “Terkkuja faneille” means, but it elicits Hansen’s most awkward response of the day: Ohhh heh heh, he says uncomfortably, before saying he’s looking forward to playing for “you guys”. I’m assuming the question was Do you love us? Say you love us. Because we love you and we never want you to go. I got this tattoo of you on my stomach. Marry me.
And finally, a note on one major difference between hockey in North American and hockey in Finland: the moment you cross the Finnish border, you’re beset upon by advertisers, who hold you down and cover you in labels. There’s no escaping it. Judging by this photo, they got Hansen.
After a win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Canucks are sitting in second in the Pacific and boast the division's best goal differential. That said, a big part of that goal differential comes from the Canucks' league-leading 10 empty net goals. […]