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Question of the Day
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - Although Bruno Mars’ skating probably needs work, the Hawaiian singer is upstaging the Stanley Cup finals this week.
The clubs are working out Thursday and Friday at Thunderbird Arena on the University of British Columbia’s picturesque campus southwest of downtown Vancouver. The complex also hosted men’s and women’s hockey games during the Vancouver Olympics last year.
Rogers Arena employees began dismantling the Canucks‘ boards and glass moments after Game 1 in preparation for a show by four-decade-old British band Supertramp on Thursday night. Mars and Janelle Monae take over Friday.
Both teams practiced only lightly on Thursday, with most of Vancouver’s key players staying off the ice.
But after a slow start to his NHL career that included several stretches of healthy scratches, Hansen’s willingness to adopt a decidedly Canadian style of play has kept him in the Canucks‘ lineup, even putting him in a big third-line role in the postseason.
“I got a couple of wakeup calls,” Hansen said Thursday. “Obviously not being in a lineup is a big one. If you want to play on a team that’s going to be competitive and compete for the Cup, you need to fill whatever role is given to you. You look at our lineup, there’s only so many players that can play on the first and second line. If you don’t have the skills that they do, you have to find a different way to contribute.”
Hansen made a beautiful pass to set up Raffi Torres‘ goal with 18.5 seconds left in Vancouver’s 1-0 win Wednesday night. He combined with third-line mates Torres and Maxim Lapierre to produce 10 hits and 10 shots, including several great scoring chances before the decisive goal.
Hansen didn’t reach the NHL in a straight line, going back to the Canucks‘ AHL affiliate in Winnipeg for retraining stretches in recent years. He played alongside three-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Keane with the Manitoba Moose.
“I think he had a great role model in Mike Keane, who really helped him with positional play, penalty killing,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “It’s paid off. He’s been with us now for a couple consecutive years. He’s logging important minutes. Last night was a great game where he used his skill set. He’s real good when he plays with an edge. He played with an edge last night, and that came in very handy for us.”
Hansen has two goals, five assists and a plus-7 rating while playing in each of Vancouver’s 19 playoff games.
BOYCHUK’S BLUNDERS?: Johnny Boychuk has been on the ice for the last seven goals scored against the Bruins in the playoffs, but coach Claude Julien isn’t about to air any complaints about the defenseman.
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