VANCOUVER, B.C. — It wasn’t a huge deal, of course, for Jannik Hansen to walk past the Vancouver Canucks dressing room on the event level of Rogers Arena on Sunday afternoon on his way to the visitor’s locker room.
It’s when he skates onto the ice and sees the fans that it might hit home that he’s back in Vancouver as a visiting player.
“It’ll probably be a little different once we get out there. It’s been kind of a quick turnaround,” Hansen said Sunday afternoon. “Haven’t had a chance to do a morning skate or even practice here yet so it hasn’t really sunk in, I think. But obviously, it’s game I circled pretty quick on the calendar once I realized that I was coming (to San Jose).
“Now it’s here and obviously excited to get going. Probably also get it over with.”
Hansen will be playing in his 12th game with the Sharks when they face the Canucks, with whom he played 565 regular season games over the course of nine-plus years.
Hansen was acquired by the Sharks on Feb. 28 for forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional 2017 4th round draft selection. Should the Sharks win the Stanley Cup this year, the fourth round selection becomes a first round pick.
Goldobin, who has one goal in 10 games with the Canucks, will not be playing Sunday against his former team.
Hansen wasn’t able to play for the Sharks against the Canucks on March 2 as he was still sorting out work visa issues. But he’s been a top nine forward since his arrival and has two goals and two assists in his last three games.
“There’s a lot of good memories in here, always had a lot of support and cheers here,” Hansen said. “So there’s obviously a lot of things that go into leaving a city you’ve been in for so long. It’s not just the team and the surroundings, it’s the city, it’s the fans, it’s the organization.
“Everybody who has put in their two cents to helping me become the player and the person I am today.”
Beyond sentimentality, the Sharks desperately need two points to keep any hope alive to finish in the top two spots in the Pacific Division.
“We need to play the best game we can. We’ve got four tuneup games before it really starts,” Hansen said. “Obviously the slide here, it’s kind of put (things) out of our control. We had home ice pretty securely locked up and now we need help to get it back.
“But if you’re playing the way you can, it should take care of itself. We’re obviously not at that point right now, so that’s what we’re trying to correct.”