February 20, 2013
NHL suspends Canucks' Jannik Hansen one game for Marian Hossa headshot
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

Canucks forward Jannik Hansen was given a one-game suspension for his hit on the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa. (Jim Young/Reuters)

VANCOUVER - Brendan Shanahan has spoken.

The NHL disciplinarian handed Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen a one-game suspension for his hit to the head of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa on Tuesday.

Following a hearing over the phone earlier in the day, Shanahan delivered his decision Wednesday night, calling the play “an illegal forearm to the head delivered recklessly and forcefully.”

With both players initially reaching for an airborne puck 70 seconds into the third period, the Canucks winger caught the back of Hossa’s head with his forearm. The Blackhawks forward, whose 2012 season ended after suffering a concussion from an infamous hit by Raffi Torres, laid face-first on the ground before being helped off the ice. He did not return to the game.

“As the video shows, Hansen is behind Hossa in the neutral zone when the puck is chipped in the air toward them. While it might be true that Hansen initially reaches up to play the puck in the air, he changes the position of his arm and delivers a sharp, careless forearm to the back of Hossa’s head,” Shanahan said. “We feel that the carelessness and force with which the blow was delivered elevate this incident to a level of supplemental discipline.”


After the game, Hansen told reporters that “it was a loose puck and he kind of got to it first.”

“I think I kind of grazed him on the back of his shoulders and then he goes down,” he said. “But I don’t see what happens after that because the play was still going on.”

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault also said afterwards that “it wasn’t even a penalty” until Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews went and talked to the refs. Hansen was then handed a two-minute minor for roughing.

At the time, the coach did not feel the play was worthy of a suspension.

“Not a chance, he was trying to grab a puck in the air,” Vigneault said, adding he wasn’t given an explanation for the penalty. “It’s unfortunate that the young man is hurt but they tried to jump to grab the puck.”

It was also Hansen’s first suspension in the NHL — which also factored into the punishment decision.

STARS UP NEXT

As eventful as their Tuesday clash with the Blackhawks was, it’s now onto the next one for the Vancouver Canucks. And that means the focus turns to the Dallas Stars.

The Canucks make the trek to the Lone Star State to face the Pacific Division squad – who came back from a two-goal deficit last Friday to beat the Canucks 4-3 at Rogers Arena. Since then, the Stars have played just once, losing 4-3 to the Calgary Flames on Sunday while Vancouver has suffered two more defeats, both in shootouts.

Despite their three-game skid, which they’ve still managed to pick up two points, the Canucks are leading the Northwest by four points. Of late though — especially when they weren’t facing easier opponents from their own division — they haven’t been able to put together a full 60-minute effort.

“It’s been three games in a row where we’re letting off a little bit for 10-20 minutes a game,” Henrik Sedin said. “It’s costing us points.”

But defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who is tied with Alex Edler for most goals by a Canucks defenceman with four, said it’s not a cause for concern just yet.

“It’s definitely something we have to be aware of,” Bieksa said. “We almost beat (Chicago) playing almost about 40. It just shows you if we put together a full game, we’re going to be a dangerous team. That’s mental toughness, in my mind.”

Cory Schneider, who has allowed seven goals in his last two games, will get the start against Dallas.

 

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