Apologies for the horrendous pun in the headline, but we needed a way to spruce this post up. After all, it’s technically relaying information that we were all privy to from the moment the news that Willie Desjardins was going to be the team’s next head coach broke.
So while it’s more of a technicality than anything, it’s still one that allows us to expand on the situation behind the Canucks bench some more. It’s also conceivable that it’s the last piece of tangible news for a while. We’ll get into it just past the jump.
All of this made me think of the conversation I had with Dan Murphy on a podcast last week, in which he had a little back-and-forth regarding the coaching situation behind the scenes:
DF: I feel like nobody really took the blame for the power play. What was going on there? I mean, obviously I think Tortorella sort of did, because stuff started coming out that he refused to practice it in practices. Glen Gulutzan was technically responsible for it, right?
Murphy: I don’t know if he was, though. It seemed to me like Glen didn’t… It was Sullivan and Torts, and I might be wrong, but seemingly Sullivan and Torts were fairly insulated and Glen was kind of like the third guy.
DF: Glen’s my favorite, because the camera would sometimes pan to him on the bench and he’d be chewing gum and he kind of looks like he’s in his own world, but apparently the players love him, from what I’ve heard.
Murphy: Yeah, I think he’s had a good relationship with the players, I just don’t think he was given much of a chance. We certainly think that Lidster’s coming to be the right-hand man for Willie, so that makes Glen the third man, so I don’t know exactly how it’s going to pan out for him again this time. I don’t think Willie’s a hard ass, but I don’t think he can have three back-patters. I don’t know much about Lidster as a coach, but he’s pretty straight.
DF: Right, that’s what I’ve heard as well. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Travis Green down in Utica, because he did take down what is, I imagine, a better deal, right? Getting to the NHL in any capacity is probably the dream, so, but I’m sure the Canucks told him he’s in the future plans in some capacity.
Murphy: Or maybe he thought he’s still better off to be a head coach at that level, and maybe it’s not the Canucks that give him his chance. Because if it’s two more years in Utica, maybe he gets a job somewhere else, because if guys do a good job down there now, guys do get jobs.
It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for Gulutzan, and whether or not the addition of Lidster affects it in any way. There were some rumblings that the coaching vacancy with the Vancouver Giants next door could be an option for him, but it appears that the job is Tim Hunter’s to lose. For whatever it’s worth, Desjardins didn’t exactly seem overly enthusiastic about Gulutzan when asked about their working relationship during his introductory presser, but that might just be me reading too much into the situation.
But back to Lidster, who adds another layer to the nostalgic feel this summer has had with the happenings in the team’s management group. It was before my time, but Lidster had 10 largely successful seasons with the team spanning the mid 80s/early 90s. The respective paths of Lidster, Benning and Linden intersected for a two-year span in which the trio were teammates (’88-’90). Unfortunately, those teams were a combined 58-80-22, so hopefully things work out more effectively this time around.
On that note I actually found a video from a game in the ’88 season between the Kings and Canucks, in which a little skirmish broke out. Sure enough, there are Lidster and Benning mixing it up. Linden wasn’t on the team at that time himself, but conveniently enough there’s a Rollie Melanson sighting! How fun!
We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of coach Doug Lidster actually is; though in theory, assistant coaches generally tend to lay in the weeds and do things behind the scenes that we aren’t necessarily privy to. Lidster has two things going for him above all else: a) he has had success being Desjardins’ assistant in the past and the rapport between the two is clearly there, b) he’s one of the only guys involved in the process now that actually has past experience doing the job the Canucks will be paying him to do next season. Beyond that there’s not much info on him in this capacity out there, except for this little video where he talks about the act of executing a proper cycle. He’ll fit right in.
There will be plenty of time for all of that in the months to come, but for now the goal for the rest of the summer has to be to clue Desjardins in on the Alumnus Handshake.