Report: Canucks will finally show us their Willie

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s/t to @TheStanchion

Taking into account the disclaimer of all of the waffling that has preceded this news, it appears that a crisis – which looked like it was rapidly becoming a reality as recently as this time yesterday – has been averted. If the reports by Kevin Weekes (initially, then reinforced by The Hockey Godfather himself) turn out to be true, the Canucks will have their head coach in place prior to next week’s entry draft set to take place in Philadelphia.

We’ll learn more about the details of the agreement in the coming days, but I’d imagine we won’t have any sort of definitive word until early next week. While the Vancouverite in me would caution against getting overly excited or ahead of ourselves at this time, it’s understandable if you’d like to finally exhale a little bit on this Friday afternoon.

More on this just past the jump. There’s a joke about “Willies” and “Bridesmaids” to be had here, I suspect.

Without the luxury of having a concrete outline of how the events transpired at our disposal, all we can do is piece the tidbits of information that has leaked out to the public so far. From what we can gather – using stuff from Dreger, Weekes, and Rob Rossi’s blog post – it appears that Desjardins met with the Penguins, heard their presentation, and thought better of it. 

Whether it was a disagreement on the term (as has been speculated about at length, with the Penguins wanting to stay flexible in the hopes of luring Mike Babcock over one day), money, or control (assistant coaches, etc), we don’t really know. It could be a combination of those, or it could be something totally else. 

What I do object to, though, is the notion that Desjardins is settling for a “Plan B” by choosing the Canucks or a Sidney Crosby-led Penguins squad that has a more feasible shot at success in the near future. If anything, Jim Rutherford’s quote in the Rossi piece sure made it seem like Desjardins explored his options, and made the decision himself to come back into Vancouver’s open arms. 

I’d imagine that the aforementioned point about length of term ultimately carries with it some gravitas here. The security of a deal ranging anywhere between 3-5 years (which strikes me as a safe bet) must’ve been alluring to him, no doubt. For whatever it’s worth I’d generally caution against investing so many years in any coach, really, considering that at this very moment a grand total of 4 bench bosses have been with their current teams since 2010. The shelf life of the gig is a short one, and there’s a lot of turnover these days for whatever reason. But that’s just the price of doing business.

All jokes and speculation aside, I personally like the potential hiring of Willie Desjardins as the bench boss for this club. For all of the reasons I went into on the post pivoting off of Trevor Linden’s comments regarding the hunt for a coach earlier today (whose comments we should never take at face value moving forward). While it’s not ideal that he only has 2 years of NHL experience as an assistant, and somewhat eyebrow-raising that he hasn’t gotten a chance at a gig like this until now, there’s a lot to like about his profile coming in. 

His teams have been largely successful in the WHL and AHL, and I’m always all for trying out newer options rather than going back to the well for retreads that we already know won’t wind up working out

  • I get the feeling that if not for tanking at the absolute perfect time and falling ass backwards into maybe the two best hockey players in the NHL, we would be discussing just how dysfunctional Pittsburgh has been since falling ass backwards into one of the greatest hockey players of all time…

  • Awesome! I’m feeling better about JBTL after this hire. Linden seems to be a genuinely good businessman and networker, and while neither of them have shown much, the signs are all good.

    Does anyone want to guess at how Canucks fans will complain about Willie? It shouldn’t be long before we shallowly stereotype him (Detached, doesn’t communicate and interacts more with lasagnes than players/old-school yeller that wouldn’t know a Corsi if it hit him in the face).

  • Mantastic

    this could really be a career killer for Willie. i really don’t see how his career will continue in an upwards direction after his contract is complete. it isn’t because he is bad at coaching but it’s the cast he’ll be working with is subpar and it won’ be getting any better in the near future.

    • Mantastic

      Yes you are right there is no point to even go through the draft or Free Agency, just shut the whole thing down.

      Manboy has declared the Canucks a failure forever and there is no question he is right. I know trolls like you feed off this so I will give you a little extra Kibble. Go back to the Oilers forums and post your “next year will be the year” or Calgary and post ” remember Iggy”….

      One bad year doesn’t a disaster make.

      • Mantastic

        yeah because it’ll be so much better next year! without kesler, Sedin’s getting older, still no depth and the fantastic goalie tandem in net. pacific division beware the mighty canucks!!!!

        did i say forever failure?! i said they won’t be better in the near future. sure they might make the playoffs next year but this core isn’t getting any younger or better in the near future

  • Mantastic

    The name that keeps popping up to me is Andy Murray. A well regarded coach in Juniors and Canadian Junior play. He had some success with the Kings in the early 2000s but not so much with the Blues.

    The NHL is an old boys club, but the question will be” why has this guy not been given a shot in the NHL before?” I believe that there is something good happening with 3 guys at the top that have something to prove to the NHL. For example, Willie may actually live in Canada and hold the occasional practice???shocking but true.

    Both Benning and Willie were presumed by the Pens and chose the Canucks… That tells me a lot about where this team is headed.

  • Barnabas

    If we are successful in getting Willie to coach, I hope he brings his assistant from the past two seasons with him as well -2 time Stanley cup winner and ex-Canuck Doug Lidster.