Welcome Desjardins!

After weeks of speculation, it is finally OFFICIALLY, official as the Vancouver Canucks announced Willie Desjardins as the 18th head coach in franchise history.


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.

Sarah E.L.

So Long, Farewell Torts

How many ways can one say this season was NOT picture perfect in any way? Well after over 3 weeks of fans waiting to hear will he or will he not be fired, the Vancouver Canucks made it official with the announcement that John Tortorella had been relieved of his coaching duties. Some people will be incredibly ecstatic about this news, some will be upset and some will likely not care at all.

The team released the follow press release (May 1, 2014):

Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden announced today that Head Coach John Tortorella and Assistant Coach Mike Sullivan have been relieved of their coaching duties.

“Today we are making an important change in the direction of our team,” said Linden. “On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our thanks to John, Mike and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and wish them the very best.”

“We have a lot of important work to accomplish this off-season as we build our management and coaching staff, improve our roster and connect with our fans,” added Linden. “Our General Manager search is well underway and we will begin assessing head coaching candidates immediately.”

I’m on the fence on this one as I genuinely like Torts. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea by any means and I didn’t always agree with him but I loved that he wasn’t afraid to stick up for his players or to tell the media how it is. I know that he made some mistakes (don’t all coaches?) but in a year that nearly his entire roster was bogged down by injuries to the point where we only had ONE month of the season that they were all healthy hardly seems enough to judge fairly on. I would have liked to see what would have happened with Torts if he was given the opportunity with a healthy roster. It was a year in which everything that could go wrong did and Torts being at the helm of the ship, is facing the brunt of the consequences. Torts may not have been perfect but he is not solely responsible for everything that went wrong this season with the team.

Torts is not the only coach who was relieved of his duties this season and he won’t be the last. The Canucks are not the only team in the search for a new coach but it is one more task added to their growing list of things to do in preparation for the new season around the corner. The Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, and the Nashville Predators are also looking to fill coaching vacancies prior to next season. No coach no matter what their contract is ever safe from the being let go club. Most notably on this year’s just relieved NHL coach list is Barry Trotz. Barry Trotz saw his 15-year tenure with the Nashville Predators come to an end this year. There are many names the team can look at coaching wise: (John Stevens, Kevin Dineen, Peter Laviolette, etc.) and you can bet that Trotz will also be in that candidate mix. Time will tell if ANY of those names ends up being name as the Canucks head coach or if they will bring in someone else that no one has yet considered.

Love him or hate him, Torts has never been one afraid to speak his mind and he will find his way behind the bench of another NHL team again. One thing is certain, Canucks press conferences will never be the same again. There was never a  dull moment in his short tenure with the team but it is time to say so long, farewell to Torts and I wish him the best of luck in the future!

We’re in for many changes over the next months…are you ready for what all that will mean come October, Canucks fans?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Welcome to #Canucknation TORTS!

In case you missed the official introduction of the ever colorful John Tortorella’s first day as Canucks head coach, here are the video links!

In his first official appearance as Canucks Head Coach, he answered questions and addressed concerns from the fans in a FAN Q & A with John Tortorella:

Following his Q & A from the fans, Torts met with the Vancouver media for the first time as head coach. John Tortorella Press Conference:

Did your opinion change in any way? I’ve heard A LOT of people have changed their view of him following these interviews. He said all the right things and and addressed some key issues. He seems to have captured Vancouver fans, team players, and local media in his first press conference. You can feel people becoming cautiously excited for the new season to begin.

WELCOME to #CANUCKNATION TORTS, it’s bound to be an interesting ride!

As always, until next time nuck said.

Sarah E.L.