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Vancouver Canucks hire Willie Desjardins as coach

Trevor Linden has made Willie Desjardins his first head coaching hire.
Trevor Linden has made Willie Desjardins his first head coaching hire.
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks, after a long run of prosperity and success, has had a couple rough years. They've had two coaches in the last two seasons, and also fired their General Manager, replacing him with Canucks legend Trevor Linden. They were one of the two teams left without a head coach, but that is no longer the case. Vancouver has hired Willie Desjardins as their new coach.

We've got another team going the minor league route. Fortunately for the Canucks, and their fans, Desjardins has quite the track record. Perhaps it took this long for him to get hired because he was a little busy leading the Texas Stars, Dallas' AHL affiliate, to a title. He coached there two years, after spending a couple seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Stars, and he won one Coach of the Year award and one championship title. That's pretty efficient. He also coached the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League for several seasons, winning the league twice, and also winning both a WHL Coach of the Year and a Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year award. He was even a GM in Medicine Hat. Alongside Gerard Gallant in Florida, 'tis the season for hiring former CHL Coach of the Year winners.

This hiring makes sense at this time for the Canucks. The roster is getting older and they didn't make the playoffs this year. This is a team that is probably primed for a rebuild, and the days of contending for the Cup seem over for now, especially with the Kings and Blackhawks ruling the West. Seems like an apt time to bring in a guy like Desjardins for his first NHL job. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the guy the Canucks wanted all along, but they just had to wait for his AHL title run to end.

Now, there is only one more open job, and that is in Pittsburgh. I imagine they probably go for a more established name. Of course, the biggest name left on the market is Dan Bylsma, who they just fired. That means a very good head coach is going to be left without a job this season. Also, John Tortorella, presuming he doesn't get hired by the Penguins, and that would very much surprise me. Kudos to Linden for making a sensible decision with his first coach hiring. You only get the chance to make a couple of those, generally, so he'll need to hope this one works out.