After Luke Schenn criticized his Canucks teammates’ lack of accountability in their own end of the ice after their 5-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, former Canuck Jannik Hansen added to those sentiments during his Tuesday appearance on Sportsnet 650.
Hansen currently sees a team where for every step they take forward, they quickly take two backwards.
“It’s a little bit of Deja Vu. Against LA, they get the win, they score four goals, they keep them to one. But I’m pretty sure if you dive into the numbers, they’re getting out-chanced heavily in that game as well. Demko was great, he was what we remembered him,” Hansen said. “Against Vegas, a little more iffy, and boom, the other team scores five.”
But Hansen’s real concern isn’t Demko. It’s the defence in front of him.
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“It’s the way these goals are scored. It’s individual mistakes, it’s not winning your one-on-one battle. And no coach, no matter who you’re talking about bringing in, is going to win that one-on-one battle behind your own net or in front of your net. He’s not going to box out for you or lift a stick in front,” Hansen said.
It doesn’t matter who you bring in to change whatever it is, what he wants to change. If guys aren’t winning these battles on the ice, we’ll keep seeing this stuff.”
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When asked if the Canucks can make changes in the short term to address the lack of intensity, Hansen was characteristically blunt.
“The short answer is no you can’t. Cause you need this buy-in, you need the guys to play for each other instead of themselves. And when guys take the easy route to try to score that’s not for the team, that’s for themselves. ‘I want to do this, I’m going to look good in the season, I’m going to get a better deal.’ That’s not going to win you hockey games,” Hansen said.
“You’re getting paid handsomely. You just got to find a way. It’s that simple in my opinion.”
But Hansen doesn’t feel all hope is lost for them. The scoring touch required to win is there, so long as they can play less selfishly in the defensive end.
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“It’s hard to score consistently. They have done that… so if they get the defence sorted out, they’ll win a multitude of games if they can keep scoring these three and four goals a night,” Hansen said. “There’s no way you should be giving up that many goals. It’s hard to score in the NHL, and the Canucks are making it look easy. They’re scoring in bunches against some of the best teams in the league.”
“But if you can’t find a way to eliminate this, then you’re at a loss.”