After weeks of speculation, it is finally OFFICIALLY, official as the Vancouver Canucks announced Willie Desjardins as the 18th head coach in franchise history.
HERE’S WILLIE DESJARDINS:
Where did Willie come from before joining the Vancouver Canucks?
Desjardins spent 8 seasons coaching in the WHL from 2002-2010 as head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. He led them to the playoffs in every season he coached them, including all the way to two WHL Championship titles in 2003-2004 and 2006-2007. Following his success in the WHL, he was brought in as an associate coach with the Dallas Stars for two years (2010-2012). Desjardins has spent his last two years coaching the Texas Stars in the AHL which concluded with his tenure with the team winning the AHL championship Calder Cup.
Six days after winning the 2014 AHL Championship, Desjardins was named as the newest Vancouver Canucks head coach. Welcome to Canucks nation, Willie!
How does Desjardins feel about being called up to the big leagues?
“It’s great for me and my family. I just like coaching. It’s a great opportunity. You always want to coach at the best level. The NHL is the best level.”
How does he feel about coaching in Vancouver and his current team?
“This is a great city. It’s a great organization. I’m lucky to be part of this. I didn’t take this job without doing my research. I like this team and I like the roster. I know the skill level here.”
On getting to his players: “You have to respect the players. It’s about how we get there and that’s working together.” –>Sounds like a refreshing concept does it not?
As for the core, he still believes they can find their way back to being contenders again. “We have so many great leaders on this team…they’ve won in the past, they’ll win again”
Desjardins knows that it will take more than the right words to prove to all the critics that both he and the team can exceed expectations: “We can say we’re going to be great but it doesn’t matter what we say, it’s what we do.”
Willie Desjardins has his work cut out for in his first ever NHL head coaching post BUT he is primed and ready for the challenge. Desjardins has paid his dues and earned his turn at the helm of an NHL team. He brings with him one very important ingredient that Torts never had, an ability to connect with his peers and his players in a manner that will motivate them instead of causing them to second guess each step forward. That may sound small BUT when a coach believes in his players it goes a long way in how his players will play every night…take away that belief and it can cause his players to question every play they make on the ice losing their confidence.
One last Canucks note: On the Kesler watch, Linden had THESE words to say: “We’re working with Ryan. Ryan is a tremendous player. He’s got the assets we want to have on this team.” Does that mean he will remain a Canuck by season’s start or be traded by the draft? The truth is, that only time will tell on that front no matter how many predictions that the fans and media will insist upon making to keep the rumour mill running wild.
On the NHL front…did you see that the 2014-2015 NHL schedule has officially been released? If you want to take a closer look at the Canucks schedule in particular, simply check out the Canucks 2014-2015 Schedule & Results page at the top of the blog.
As always, until next time, nuck said.