Vancouver will again be without Jannik Hansen due to a knee injury, and the injury comes just seven games after he returned from an upper-body ailment that forced him to miss 16 games.
Given the Vancouver Canucks are only six points out of last place in the league, boast a brutal minus-23 goal differential and have a mere three wins in their past 10 games, it’d be hard to fathom a scenario in which things could actually get much worse.
But then news came Tuesday that versatile forward Jannik Hansen, one of the team’s top penalty killers and a steady middle-six winger, will be forced to miss the next 4-6 weeks due to a knee injury suffered shortly before the start of the holiday break. The Canucks officially announced the ailment following their first day back from the break, but the injury itself is nearly a week old, suffered Dec. 22 in a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Canucks fans will be none too pleased with how the injury occurred, either.
During the Dec. 22 tilt between the Canucks and Jets, Hansen was making his way up the ice as part of Vancouver’s breakout, and as he crossed into the Winnipeg zone he pulled up to find a passing lane. After controlling the puck, he simply flipped the puck on goal hoping for a bounce. Well after Hansen had moved the puck, though, he took a knee-on-knee hit from Mathieu Perreault that resulted in the two teams mixing it up as officials tried to get the teams under control:
Perreault’s hit resulted in him receiving a minor for kneeing, and shortly after taking the hit, Hansen left the contest and underwent an MRI later on to determine the extent of the injury, at which point it was determined he’d miss close at least a month’s worth of action.
What will anger Canucks fans more than Hansen being sidelined, though, is that some felt the hit from Perreault was a combination of late and dirty that could have been worthy of a suspension. In fact, following the Dec. 22 game, Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said the hit was something the league should be taking a look at.
“It took at least a couple of seconds before Perreault came. That’s a dirty hit, for sure,” Sedin said, according to The Province’s Jason Botchford. “That’s something we can’t have in this league. We’ll see what the league does. You never know.”
Sedin later continued by saying the hit “had to be more than a second late,” and pointed out that the time between Hansen making a play and the hit was enough for Hansen to look away and look back only to see Perreault charging towards him. But despite the calls for discipline, the league did not take action against Perreault.
With Hansen out 4-6 weeks, Vancouver will be without the winger for the second extended period this season. Hansen was injured earlier in the season during the heated exchange between the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs, missing 16 games before returning in mid-December. Now his injury threatens to see him miss at least another dozen games, and potentially close to 20 outings if he’s out the full six weeks or slightly longer.
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