Maybe in another time, Vancouver Canucks rookie Nick Jensen would have been banished to the minors, or at least stapled to the end of the bench, for a bad penalty that led to an opposition power-play goal that led to a total team meltdown that led to a crushing defeat. Jensen’s offensize-zone holding penalty Monday against the New York Islanders was an unforgivable mistake, but the 21-year-old Dane has apparently been forgiven. In Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory here over the Winnipeg Jets, Jensen played 19:57, most of that on the team’s first line with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. He looked big, confident and played during 4-on-4 overtime. For a Canucks organization desperately seeking to become younger, Jensen’s performance in the ‘Peg might have been the best news, aside from the win, of course. “It was our original intention to leave Nicklas down in Utica because he was becoming a more complete player but his development has escalated and it’s happening at a time where we need goal scoring,” Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman said Thursday before the Canucks flew off to Washington and their date Friday with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. “Nicklas has a decent amount of size, he’s picked up a step or two in his pace and he likes to shoot from all angles. Those are attributes we need right now.” The question for Jensen is this: Can he maintain this level on Friday and then maintain it beyond that? “I’m so happy to be getting this chance,” said Jensen, listed at 6-2 and 202 pounds. “Obviously it’s huge that they’re showing faith in me. I know I took a bad penalty in the Islander game and the fact I got another chance to play on a line like this, I needed to show up. You can’t just take a chance like that for granted.” Jensen appeared in two games last year during a brief call-up and didn’t look even close to being ready. This time around he does, despite some of the penalties he’s taken.
Canucks’ Nick Jensen a bright light in a dark time
Vancouver Sun | Mar 14