Jannik Hansen named the NHL’s first star of the week

What a week it’s been for Jannik Hansen (and his biggest booster, Thomas Drance, who’s been arguing with Jason Botchford and his Botcholytes about Hansen’s skill, utility, and effectiveness as Radim Vrbata’s understudy for weeks now).

Suffice it to say, this is pretty vindicating: Hansen is the NHL’s first star of the week.

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Jannik Hansen touches down in Finland, does an interview, is accosted by advertisers

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:

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Jannik Hansen “could not be calmed down,” receives one-game suspension from IIHF

The middle of the summer is the last time an NHLer expects to receive supplementary discipline. But that didn’t stop Jannik Hansen, who received a one-game suspension from the International Ice Hockey Federation on Friday. It is yet further proof that Hansen is the Honninggrævling – the Danish Honey Badger – particularly when you read the IIHF’s description of his transgressions.

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Video: Jannik Hansen gets Gene Simmons to sign his stick during warmup

Jannik Hansen may be one of about a million billion athletes that’s been given the honey badger nickname by fans, media, and teammates since that Youtube video went viral, but just because the nickname has become a huge cliché doesn’t mean it’s a poor fit for his personality. Truth is, like his animal namesake, Hansen does and takes what he wants.

Case in point: last Sunday night versus the Anaheim Ducks, while he was skating around in warmup, Hansen saw Gene Simmons sitting by the glass, and screw it, he wanted an autograph right at that very moment. So, you know, he just skated over and got one because Jannik Hansen don’t care.

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With the news today that the Canucks and Jannik Hansen avoided the ugly squabble and dish-throwing of arbitration comes the beautiful realization that fans can look forward to three more years of frenzied forechecking, possessed penalty killing, and delightful high-pitched interviews. At a $1.35 million cap hit, Canucks fans should be thrilled. I’m thrilled. Why aren’t you thrilled? You should be.

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Jannik Hansen was a delight in 2010-11, though it wasn’t usually for his goalscoring ability. In his first full season with the Canucks, Hansen was a revelation on the third line, forechecking with fervor, killing penalties with aplomb, and speaking in a delightful high-pitched monotone. With 29 points, Hansen finished tied for 10th on the team in scoring, but his contributions far outweighed his offensive numbers.

In recognition of his awesomeness, Hansen was given the Fred J. Hume award as the team’s unsung hero. Both Kevin Bieksa and Alexandre Burrows are previous recipients of the award and have gone on to more marquee success; of course, Steve Bernier also won the award, so make of that what you will.

In the midst of all his fantastic work as a role player, Hansen found the time to chip in 9 goals, matching his career best. Hansen is a far cry from a finisher, so don’t expect many pretty ones.

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With free agency looming on July 1st, Mike Gillis still has some work ahead of him before he can take a brief vacation. We have already taken a look at the unrestricted free agent defensemen and forwards from the Canucks roster, and they will certainly be his first priority, but there are a few restricted free agents that will need to receive qualifying offers or raises. While the danger of losing any of these RFAs to another team in free agency is minimal as the team can match any offer sheet, such offer sheets can drive up the price of these players, making it more difficult to work within the salary cap.

Two of the Canucks’ RFAs were important contributors to their playoff run and will certainly require some attention prior to July 1st: Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen.

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Canucks 3 – 0 Ducks After the highly contentious atmosphere in the Staples Center last night, the Honda Center was downright pleasant. It’s not just that the Anaheim fans are generally more congenial (one woman gave us free hot dogs), but the building itself is a little nicer, a little more organic. Whereas the Staples [...]

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Kings, March 5, 2011

After spending about twenty hours in the Nissan Versa, bickering about music selection, coining new swear words, and fighting off an invisible army of cramps, well, it was some sort of glorious reprieve to finally get to the hockey portion of the road trip. Not that there weren’t highlights en route. For example: Bonnie Tyler’s Faster Than [...]

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Canucks 4 – 2 Capitals Just like their previous two games against the Rangers and Islanders, the Canucks outshot their opponents in the first period. Unlike the last two games, the Canucks continued the trend in the second, and it made all the difference. They came out of the first two periods with a two-goal [...]

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