Ex-Moose Hansen finally bulges NHL twine

KEN WIEBE

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

It was beginning to feel like an eternity for Jannik Hansen.

In reality, waiting 19 games (including a 10-game post-season cameo in 2006-07) to score your first NHL goal isn't that bad.

But when it's spread over three seasons, the weight on your shoulders starts to get heavier and heavier.

The good news for the former Manitoba Moose forward is the wait is over after burying a rebound off the end boards past Detroit Red Wings' Chris Osgood in Thursday's 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Always one to keep his emotions in check in both good times and bad, Hansen was brief when asked about the goal by Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre.

"It felt great," Hansen uttered. "It feels like it took a long time coming. Or whatever you say."

Hansen's 2008-09 campaign is off to a tremendous start and he's looked right at home on a line with Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows, two more Moose alum who are making an impact.

"He's a great fit with those guys -- they're all hard-working guys who can move the puck, have some skill and go to the net as well," said Heshka, who lived with Hansen last season and spoke with him Thursday night. "(Hansen) deserves it. He came here, worked hard and played in some key roles here. Everyone knows how great his camp was in Vancouver and how well he did. Nobody questioned him making the team because he really earned it. I'm happy for him."

Moose head coach Scott Arniel isn't surprised with Hansen's early-season success.

"He worked hard last year and really became one of our top forwards," said Arniel. "We put him in a role of killing penalties and he really relished that role. That's helped him move up and play that role with Vancouver on the shutdown line. Those three are real quick together as a line and (Hansen) has worked on his defensive side of the game and playing away from the puck. Those guys had some chemistry in camp and it seems to be rolling still.

"It's nice to see him get the opportunity. Our whole room gets excited when things like that (Hansen's first goal) happen."

Hansen, the Canucks' ninth choice (287th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, had 43 points in 50 games with the Moose last season.

ANOTHER BODY?: With defenceman Kevin Bieksa on track to return to the lineup tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks needed to make room on the 23-man roster.

They turned a few heads by placing skilled forward Kyle Wellwood on waivers yesterday and if he clears today, it is expected he'll be sent to the minors.

It is not known yet whether Wellwood will be assigned to the Moose or loaned to another AHL club.

The Moose already have seven veterans (players with 260 or more games in the NHL, AHL or an elite level European club) on the roster and can dress five per game.

Wellwood, 25, was claimed on waivers by the Canucks this summer and signed to a deal that pays him just under $1 million this season.


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