Willie Desjardins Fired by Vancouver Canucks After 3 Seasons

Tricia Pearson
April 12, 2017

The Vancouver Canucks have relieved head coach Willie Desjardins of his duties, along with assistant coaches Doug Lidster and Perry Pearn.

In his debut season behind the Canucks' bench, the team had a 48-29-5 record, coming second in the Pacific division.

The season was so bad and the slow crawl back to competitiveness will be so long that the Canucks could make more than the coach accountable for this mess.

After the Torterella era this hard working, team first mentality was enough to overlook any potential wrinkles tied with the Canucks position in the standings.

"It's a decision that you don't arrive at easily", team president of hockey operations Trevor Linden said.

Past year the Canucks finished third last in the league with just 75 points, before falling back to second last and just 69 points this season.

The big question going into the off season isn't just where the Canucks will draft, it's who takes Willie's place.

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Schmaltz says Desjardins treatment of the team's youth was often criticized. But the fast start was a mostly smoke and mirrors as the Canucks became first team in National Hockey League history to win its first three games of a season while never leading in regulation.

"I think Jim and I sit up here every bit as responsible, and certainly at the same time we think there are things we can do better, and that's why we made the change".

Daniel and Henrik Sedin, for whom we hold enormous respect, are no longer first-line players.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin will finish their careers as Canucks, and 30-year-old defenceman Alex Edler, so comfortable and deeply rooted in Vancouver, is probably immovable with his no-trade clause.

Vancouver was already in the process of dismantling its aging core when Desjardins took over. They also do not have a legit top-pairing defenceman on their roster, but Olli Juolevi is in London and if we can be patient for four more seasons while he learns the gig, he just might be one. That reconstruction continued in 2015-16, with younger players taking on bigger roles while the team tried to balance the present and future.

The plan didn't come close to providing the desired results, and Desjardins was eventually the one to pay the price.

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