Canuck Dan Hamhuis team’s Masterton nominee, ‘always trying to make a difference’

 

 
 
 
 
In hockey and in life, Dan Hamhuis has always tried to lead by example. The Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman wants to win a championship as much as anyone, but he also knows that there is so much more to the game he loves. Hockey has helped provide Hamhuis with a wonderful life and he is anxious […]
 
 

In hockey and in life, Dan Hamhuis has always tried to lead by example. The Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman wants to win a championship as much as anyone, but he also knows that there is so much more to the game he loves. Hockey has helped provide Hamhuis with a wonderful life and he is anxious […]

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

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In hockey and in life, Dan Hamhuis has always tried to lead by example.

The Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman wants to win a championship as much as anyone, but he also knows that there is so much more to the game he loves.

Hockey has helped provide Hamhuis with a wonderful life and he is anxious to give back, both to the community and to his teammates.

“I don’t think the whole picture is for me to be here to win Stanley Cups,” Hamhuis said Monday. “I think that is something I care about very deeply, but there is so much more to this game. I think God put me here in a position like this to make a difference for other guys on the team, to help them out in any way in the community.

“That is kind of the approach I take. My commitment level to hockey has probably never been higher, but priorities outside are always shifting and I am trying to make a difference.”

On Monday, the Vancouver chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association named Hamhuis as its unanimous selection as the Canucks’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The Masterton, established in 1968, is awarded annually to a NHL player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“It’s a huge honour,” Hamhuis said of the nomination. “It’s not something you really think about, you just kind of go day by day and do the best you can.”

Hamhuis has most certainly persevered this season. The horrific facial injury he suffered Dec. 9 when struck by a shot has been well documented.

Hamhuis suffered numerous broken bones, missed 21 games and has played remarkably well since returning.

“Pretty tough year, but pretty remarkable story,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said Monday. “When he was going through the injury and all the breaks, we’re going like, he’s probably done for the year … Since he has come back he has played his best hockey, so not only did he overcome it, he kind of rose above it.”

Hamhuis relishes his role as a mentor to young Canuck players, and defenceman Chris Tanev recalled Monday how Hamhuis helped him when he broke into the league.

“Since I came here, he’s always been there for me no matter what,” Tanev said. “Good game, bad game, good shift, bad shift. Outside the rink if you need him he’s there for you. He’s a tremendous teammate and tremendous pro.”

Hamhuis will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Smithers native has made no secret of the fact he’d like to remain a Canuck. He thinks that in addition to his on-ice contributions, he can help the team’s young players adjust to life in the NHL.

“You talk about working with young guys, there are a lot of young guys here right now and it is really exciting for them to get their chance to be in the NHL,” Hamhuis said. “And it’s a big adjustment, a huge step from the AHL, a huge step from the KHL and junior. I went through those steps and it’s a tough adjustment on the ice, it’s a tough adjustment off the ice. I got to do it in Nashville and I think it might be even more difficult in a market like Vancouver. I’d like to do anything I can to help these guys be confident and make the transition.”

Hamhuis, who sponsors the Hammer’s Heroes program at Canucks home games that recognizes young people making a difference in the community, is renowned for having players over to his family home for dinner.

The latest player to sit down at the Hamhuis dinner table was Russian rookie Nikita Tryamkin, whom Hamhuis has been mentoring since his arrival earlier this month.

“During the time he was out there was never anything bad, never anything negative,” Desjardins said of Hamhuis. “He was always trying to help the young guys. He’ll have guys over to his house for supper. He’s a real mentor and lots of times I look and think if we had traded him, what would we do now. He’s logging 25 minutes a night and has been unbelievable for us. He is more than worthy (as a Masterton nominee). He has been great for us and he always brings the same attitude and it’s always positive.”

“I definitely can’t think of a better guy,” added Tanev. “He does so much in the community, he is such a good player and a great person. You are not going to find a nicer guy anywhere in the game, I’ll tell you that for sure.”

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

RECENT RUN

The Canucks made it eight straight losses when they dropped a 3-2 home-ice decision Sunday to the Chicago Blackhawks. They are just two defeats away from matching their franchise-worst losing streak of 10 games set in the 1997-98 season under Mike Keenan. The Sharks had lost three straight games heading into Monday’s home game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks entered the game third in the Pacific Division with 88 points.
INJURY REPORT

Defenceman Chris Tanev and forward Markus Granlund both practised Monday. Granlund, who has missed seven games with an upper-body injury, is expected to play Tuesday. Tanev, who has sat out the last five games with an undisclosed ailment, will not likely return until Thursday. Coach Willie Desjardins said defenceman Luca Sbisa (shoulder) likely is done for the season. “I don’t think we’ll get him back,” Desjardins said. “He’ll be real late if we get him back.”
HEAD-TO-HEAD

This is the fourth of five games between the teams, who wrap up their season series Thursday in San Jose. The Sharks have won two of the previous three games, but the Canucks won the last meeting by a score of 4-2. The Canucks won three of five meetings with the Sharks last season. The last 11 games between the Canucks and Sharks have been won by the visitor.

THE LINEUP

Jacob Markstrom will start for the Canucks, as coach Willie Desjardins continues to rotate his goalies. Line combinations in Monday’s practice included Bo Horvat between Chris Higgins and Emerson Etem; Markus Granlund with Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen, and Brendan Gaunce centering Jared McCann and Alex Burrows. Linden Vey was the extra forward. Defensive pairings were Ben Hutton and Nikita Tyamkin, Dan Hamhuis and Yannick Weber and Matt Bartkowski and Alex Biega.
QUOTABLE

“We just can’t come into games thinking about wins or losses. It’s about trying to teach the right things. If we can play like we did against Nashville and for parts of (Sunday’s game), you can almost take a loss that way, instead of us just going out there and trying to get goals and think we’re going to win that way. It’s a tough spot.” — Captain Henrik Sedin on the final seven games.
Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun

 
 
 
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In hockey and in life, Dan Hamhuis has always tried to lead by example. The Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman wants to win a championship as much as anyone, but he also knows that there is so much more to the game he loves. Hockey has helped provide Hamhuis with a wonderful life and he is anxious […]
 

In hockey and in life, Dan Hamhuis has always tried to lead by example. The Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman wants to win a championship as much as anyone, but he also knows that there is so much more to the game he loves. Hockey has helped provide Hamhuis with a wonderful life and he is anxious […]

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

 
In hockey and in life, Dan Hamhuis has always tried to lead by example. The Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman wants to win a championship as much as anyone, but he also knows that there is so much more to the game he loves. Hockey has helped provide Hamhuis with a wonderful life and he is anxious […]
Vancouver Canucks' Dan Hamhuis looks on during a stoppage during first period NHL hockey action against the San Jose Sharks, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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