Canucks’ Jannik Hansen says trade deadline moves will take time to digest
Notebook: Newcomer Derek Roy to dress for first game with team against Oilers
VANCOUVER — From the perspective of his five years in the National Hockey League, Vancouver Canuck right-winger Jannik Hansen summed up the league’s trade activity Wednesday like a man just finishing a large dinner.
“It’s hard to digest right now,” said the Dane. “It’s going to be a little easier to see once the guys actually get settled and everything. Some good players are coming into our conference but some good ones are going the other way, too. Teams are trying to find a way to optimize their rosters.”
Hansen will likely find himself skating alongside one of those player coming west, Derek Roy, when the Canucks return to action Thursday to face the Edmonton Oilers. Hansen, Roy and Chris Higgins were a line in practice Wednesday. Roy was obtained Tuesday from the Dallas Stars for a 2013 second-round pick and minor-league defenceman Kevin Connauton.
“Obviously Derek is extremely skilled and he seems like he has a really good feel for the puck,” said Hansen, who enters the Edmonton game as the Canucks’ third-leading scorer with 21 points.
SOUR PLAY: In their last 20 games, the Canucks are 2-for-52 on the power play, which computes to a ghastly 3.84 per cent. In those 20 games, they’ve had two chances eight times, one chance once and zero chances twice, most recently Monday in San Jose. The other 0-for-0 night occurred last Thursday. On Wednesday, they were ranked 29th in the league.
“Well, you can’t score on the power play unless you get them,” general manager Mike Gillis said dryly when asked if he was shocked at being No. 29.
The GM did admit the power-play outage was not acceptable. In the same 20-game span, the opposition is 12-for-61, or 19.67 per cent. The Canucks had the league’s best power play two seasons ago and were fourth in 2011-12.
“A lot of teams have copied our power play over the last couple of years because of the success we’ve had so every day in practice they’re defending the same things,” Gillis said. “We’ve made some changes and we’re getting more shots to the net. I really think it’s a product of how the game is being played today. When you shoot the puck 80 times at the opposition net and you get 32 on net, that’s what we’re facing. We have to find ways to be better.”
Henrik Sedin, who quarterbacks the power play, conceded the lack of production is getting to him and brother Daniel. Henrik enters Thursday’s game with 31 points while Daniel has 29. They each have seven points on the power play but Daniel had five of those in the team’s first four games.
“That bothers us,” Henrik said. “Usually at this time of year, we have 15, 16 or 17 points on the power play and, if you add those numbers to our point totals, we’re top five or top 10 in the league. So that’s the only thing that weighs on us. If we get that going, no one would be talking about our points.
“We still have time to get it going here,” he added. “I’m sure it’s going to be OK.”
SICK BAY WATCH: The Canucks’ lengthy injury list now sits at five – excluding Manny Malhotra (vision) — but it could be down to just one by next week. Centre Ryan Kesler (broken foot) is expected to begin skating Thursday, left-winger Mason Raymond (shoulder) is also supposed to skate this week while right-winger Dale Weise (shoulder) did skate Wednesday and defenceman Keith Ballard (foot) is close to skating as well.
That would leave just David Booth, gone for the season with ankle surgery, out long term.
FRANKLY SPEAKING: New Canuck Derek Roy can handle himself in both official languages thanks to a francophone father (Felix) and a French education. His mother (Colleen) is English from the Kingston-Gananoque area. Derek was raised in Ottawa.
“It was mostly English at the house but when I was five years old they put me in French school and I went all the way through high school in French,” he explained. “It worked out well because I have a lot of French buddies who can hardly speak English. It’s also good when you travel to be able to speak a couple of languages. But in the house, we watched English movies and TV and all that stuff except for watching the Montreal Canadiens on RDS.”
Roy added that the family name, given its French roots, is actually pronounced ‘roi’, as in Patrick Roy.
“It was Derek ‘Roi’ but I’m happy with Derek Roy,” he smiled. “Whatever.”
WAKE-UP CALL: Rookie Nicklas Jensen’s NHL debut Monday in San Jose created a minor dilemma for his parents back home in Denmark. The game began at 4:30 a.m. Danish time and, according to Nicklas, they had to make the big decision whether to stay up late or get up early.
“They went to bed and woke up early,” said Jensen, whose father Dan is a Canadian from Toronto. “I’m not sure how they saw the game, whether they bought it online and hooked it up to the TV, but I talked to them and they definitely found a way to watch it. My dad just told me ‘good job.’ He was proud. He knows it’s tough in your first game but, obviously, he had a few tips for me to work on.”
Jensen spent most of the night skating with the Sedin twins, a line that saw much of Joe Thornton’s unit.
“We were pretty much against them the whole game so, obviously, it was hard but it was also a great experience,” he summed up.
QUOTABLE: “Well, we’re going to try and get a save on the first couple of shots. That should help.” – A chuckling Canuck coach Alain Vigneault when asked what type of challenge the Oilers would present. Edmonton scored on its first three shots and four of the first five in last Saturday’s 4-0 victory over the Canucks.
“I caught him at the right time where you get a player’s attention and he just listens to what he has to do and that’s what he does. We’re very fortunate that he agreed to stay here for another four years.” – Vigneault on versatile forward Chris Higgins re-upping with the team.
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