Photo Credit: Nick Didlick/Getty Images North America
For the second time in as many years, Jannik Hansen is headed for a European vacation. I don’t mean this literally of course but last season Jannik Hansen followed up on a breakout 2010-11 season that saw him morph into a playmaking, hard-hitting super pest with a listless, non-physical campaign in 2011-12. As a result the illustrious "#shap crew" coined the nickname "European vacation" for him, and that nickname was then popularized by Jason Botchford.
Well this time it’s for real, as Jannik Hansen has agreed to a deal with Tappara of the SM-Liga (the Finnish elite league). Per the official Tappara Twitter feed:
Tappara hankki toisenkin NHL-pelaaja. Tanskalainen Vancouver Canucksissa pelaava hyökkääjä Jannik Hansen tulee Tampereelle tänään.
— Tamhockey Oy (@Tapparaofficial) October 30, 2012
In case you were wondering how they say "Canucks" in Finnish, wonder no more! "Canucksissa" it is. [Correction: via Eetu Huisman "Canucksissa" means "in (the) Canucks". We don’t have prepositions in Finnish, we have suffixes."]
Read on past the jump for more.
So, Jannik Hansen is following in the footsteps of Dale Weise and becoming just the Canucks second roster player to head overseas during the ongoing NHL lockout. Early on in the lockout it was rumoured that he’d joing the Rødovre Red Bulls in his native Denmark. Clearly however he has opted to play in a more difficult league, like most Danish born NHLers who have signed in Europe this fall. According to Finnish hockey writer Matias Strozyk, Hansen will make his debut with Tappara on Thursday.
The SM-Liga is particularly stuffed with talent at the moment, partly because of the ongoing political strife over signing locked out NHLers in the Swedish Elite League. The Finnish first league is the fifth most difficult hockey league in the world, making it a legitimate enough NHL feeder league that it has its own translation number and everything (unlike the Dutch league that Dale Weise is lighting up like it’s nobodies business).
Even without Jannik Hansen, Tappara is a relatively interesting team. Their roster already features several familiar names like hard-shooting defenseman Kurtis Foster, Ville "the smile" Nieminen (the bane of the WCE era Canucks) and also a possible lottery pick in uber-talented 17-year-old Aleksander Barkov. With that collection of talent, Tappara games might actually be worth checking out if you can find an on-line stream of their games.
On a related note, I’ve put together a Google Map of "Canucks in Europe" that we’ll continue to update if other Canucks players choose to ply their trade across the Atlantic during the lockout. The smart money is on Cory Schneider, who holds a Swiss passport and may be able to avoid some of the exorbitant insurance costs being shouldered by the likes of Jason Spezza, being "next."
View Canucks In Europe in a larger map