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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

Derek Dorsett Won’t Return to the Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks announced this morning that Derek Dorsett will not be returning to the team, citing health concerns arising from the return of stiffness, pain and tingling associated with the same neck injury that required surgery last season.

Dorsett, 30, had cervical fusion surgery to repair an ongoing problem in his neck last December. His playing career seemed to be in jeopardy at the time, but both the Canucks and Dorsett remained optimistic about a recovery. And recover Dorsett did.

The doctors cleared Dorsett to resume his hockey playing career, and he didn’t miss a beat. Dorsett joined the Canucks at the onset of training camp and played a significant role on their checking line right to his last game.

Not only did Dorsett feature on the Canucks primary checking line and play an average of about 15 minutes a night; he scored a lot, too. Dorsett had seven goals in his first 15 games of the season.

Dorsett’s return to the Canucks and the role he played was the single-best storyline of the Canucks season.

When the leading doctors in the field of injury that Dorsett has been battling say it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on.

Per the Canucks press release this morning…

Following surgery Dorsett progressed through successful treatment and rehabilitation, consistent with expectations, and was cleared to play at the start of the 2017.18 season. Recently, symptoms of neck and back stiffness presented.

Dr. Bill Regan:

“We’ve evaluated Derek’s health and fitness to play consistent with every player’s medicalhistory. When his latest symptoms presented we immediately took the precaution of removing him from the line-up to carry out a thorough evaluation, including consultation with Dr. Watkins. His pre-existing conditions, combined with the recent surgery and the risks associated with continuing to play led to a recommendation that Derek seriously consider not playing again.

In parts of nine seasons split between the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, Dorsett played 515 games and potted 127 points (51 goals and 76 assists). Dorsett also amassed 1314 penalty minutes, which speaks to the role he played as a gritty pugilist.

It’s a sad day for the Canucks organization and Dorsett. There are more important things in life than hockey though and I think speak for everyone when I say that I’m just glad Dorsett will be able to enjoy those with his health in tact.



  • Jamie E

    A sad day. He is a warrior. I’m glad he potted the seven goals in his brief return. A neat way to go our for him. I wish him a healthy and happy future with his wife and two young kids. Maybe he can join Gary Valk’s Real Estate firm. Their slogan could be “List with us or we’ll beat the crap out of you.”

  • Bure Fan

    Sad for him but let’s be honest, it’s his own fault. Refused to adapt his game like many others have in order to stay in the show – i cringed every time i saw him fight this season.

    Still, he played a decent amount of NHL games and retires a multi-millionaire. No doubt the nucks will play the sympathy card and he will get a charity giglike Manny. No biggy. Health, wealth and family first.

    • The really sad thing is that Dorsett was a good enough player that he didn’t *need* to fight. He could play a high-speed game, pot the occasional goal, and be an agitator without ever having to drop the gloves.

      • KCasey

        I honestly dont think it was the very small sample of fights that reaggrivated his injury so much but rather just the very nature of the sport and its constant bumps and battles. Its the constant contact between games and practices. How many injuries can you say you have seen from as a direct result from fighting? Some to be sure but they all combine pale in comparision to something as simple as a run put along the boards, or collision behind the net, or even the knee on knee hits. Im sure fighting didnt help his case but if anything cause this it was the thousand plus minor run ins rather than a few fights spread out over the last 7 or 8 weeks. My heart goes out to him and his family. A class act for the organization and an all around good human being. Wish him the best in whatever he takes up next.

      • bobdaley44

        Problem we keep coming back to is the lack of grit on the Canucks roster. Dorsett had to play that way or who else was going to? Horvat? Baertshi? Hutton? The list goes on. This is the same reason they drafted Jake and traded for Guddy. They desperately needed and need what these guys bring regardless of the Corsi stats and blemishes. Dorsett will be missed.

        • Roy

          it isn’t a problem? Just neanderthals drooling for violence. Fighting is almost gone, and where it isn’t dying a natural death, injury is taking its toll. You only have to look at concussion syndrome, the rate of early death, addiction and suicide amongst former enforcers and have the faintest beach-head of a conscience to agree that fighting is even stupider than NHL reffing.

    • I agree with Bure Fan. Dorsett should have retired after his surgery. There’s a huge difference between a broken arm/leg vs your neck. He owes his family a major apology for risking his health and putting them through the rollercoaster. At least he was able to retire pre-emptively rather than getting permanently injured on the ice.

      • Moderated Post

        Pre-emptive retirement? He has another herniated disk, according to sportsnet, separate from the previous injury. Maybe that just means that he can no longer be an athlete, and he’ll be fine as a dad, but it doesn’t sound too rosy. Good luck to him.

    • sloth

      Ugh honestly it is sickening how unsurprising this is. Like how obvious was this outcome at the beginning of training camp? I don’t think I can put any blame on Dorsett for playing his game the way he’s always played it, and I don’t think it’s just the fighting that caused this – but I cringed every time I saw him make or take a routine check this season, let alone take a punch.

      At this point it seems like it was pretty seriously negligent for his medical team and the Canucks organization to clear him to play to start the season. I really hope this doesn’t turn ugly. You can already see the Canucks scrambling to cover themselves in these media releases…

      • DJ_44

        The Canucks medical team did not clear him to play. His Dr. In LA did… The leading neck specialist in the world. As soon as there were symptoms… Dorset was immediately referred back to him.

        So…. Where exactly is the negligence?

        • sloth

          Obviously he was cleared by the Canucks on the recommendation of his surgeon. The surgeon can’t make roster decisions for the Canucks, that’s the right of their management and medical team, so the surgeon said he’s fine but it was the Canucks who decided to believe that and put him back on the roster. Now who’s paying a player who will never play again? And who’s getting paid the big private medical bucks to look at him and maybe cut him open again?…

          Reports on his injury on this website stated that it’s a problem that has compounded throughout his career, dating back to his Columbus days. He had surgery last December, cervical discectomy and fusion, which Canucks Army stated was a procedure and injury with no precedent in the NHL up to that point. They cut his neck open from the front and attached a piece of his hip bone to his spine… I just find it really hard to believe that he was legitimately 100% ready to rejoin the team and play in the NHL this September. He might have been 95% but it’s really hard to quantify what recovery means and in the case of spinal surgery I would have liked them to be more cautious.

          Either he was never going to be able to return long-term because the surgery did not fully repair the injury, or if the surgery was successful then he must have returned too soon and re-aggravated the injury. But now we’ll never know… Either way it seems to me like a negligent situation that he was allowed to play 17 NHL games (and fight 4 times) within a year of a huge surgery to repair a chronic spinal injury, without a thorough and patient re-evaluation of his game-fitness. The Canucks could have kept him on LTIR and waited to see if these injuries resurfaced in practices through camp and October and November, and then sent him to Utica for game time, and he could have been returning to the lineup in December with a much clearer picture of his health situation rather than retiring with a herniated disc 1/4 of the way through the season…

          To be clear this is tragic for Dorsett, who deserves so much better. I certainly don’t want to put any blame on him, but the way this situation was handled still makes me really uncomfortable.

          • Bure Fan

            Exactly – spot on, and that’s why he will be offered a nice job by the Canucks and all the ‘help’ he needs. Some just can’t handle the truth it seems.

          • DJ_44

            So you are claiming the Canucks we’re negligent because they accepted the professional recommendation from the top specialist in the world? Got it. If Dorset played 70 games… Or 170 games and then symptoms returned is that no longer negligent?

            The outcome may not be as hoped, but to suggest negligence is foolish and ignorant.

            As for the crap about who gets paid to cut him open again….a surgeon with that reputation risks everything and one wrong recommendation…. He would be the most cautious in this situation.

            As for who pays out Dorset’s salary… That would be insurance.

          • sloth

            I’m suggesting it may have been negligent of BOTH Dr. Watkins and the Canucks to put Derek Dorsett into NHL games so soon after spinal surgery. I don’t know any private details but I know the publicly available info and timeline, and that’s why I said it “seems” negligent.

            If Dorsett had played more games before symptoms returned… I dunno, that’s not what happened… he re-aggravated the site of the surgery within 17 games, and nobody knows if it could have been worse or better if they had done anything differently. But this quote from the Canucks team doctor today makes me think a mistake was made 2 months ago:

            “We’ve evaluated Derek’s health and fitness to play consistent with every player’s medical history. When his latest symptoms presented we immediately took the precaution of removing him from the line-up to carry out a thorough evaluation, including consultation with Dr. Watkins. His pre-existing conditions, combined with the recent surgery and the risks associated with continuing to play led to a recommendation that Derek seriously consider not playing again.”

            How is this not damning? It was not a “precaution” to remove him from the lineup last week that was simply the only responsible reaction to the situation. “Precaution” would have been not playing him to start the season, going through this “thorough evaluation” over the first month of practice. Everything else cited, his medical history, his pre-existing condition, the recent surgery… none of this has changed since the summer. The only thing that happened was his symptoms returned and they realized they probably screwed up putting him back on the ice so quick.

            Dr. Watkins has apparently performed successful surgeries on Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Dwight Howard, and apparently even Wayne Gretzky. His reputation will survive Derek Dorsett’s unfortunate retirement. I’m not saying he was negligent but it doesn’t seem impossible to me that he could have overlooked something in his evaluations. It also seems quite possible Dorsett would never recover and this is just the natural conclusion of his career. But it still looks like it was all a bit reckless to me from where I’m sitting.

          • Moderated Post

            Reminiscent of the Malhotra situation, but Gillis wouldn’t resign him due to the fact he was putting his eye sight at permanent risk. Malhotra continued playing and thankfully nothing bad happened to him. Derek was still under contract, not sure what exactly the team could have done besides maybe buy him out. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

  • Fred-65

    Sad news for sure but I’m glad he made the decision before his future life was compromised Good luck for the future and I’m confident that when one door closes another will open I’m sure with his character and energy he will tackle the next part of his life with the same drive.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    He was having a fantastic year, and now that his career is ended he can at least be proud of how he went out. I was impressed with his play this year, and it is sad that his career ended this way. That said, he owes it to his family to be as healthy as possible for the remainder of his life. I didn’t care to see him fighting, because it was always in the back of my mind that he was recovering from a major injury. I wish him and his family well for the future.

  • RandomScrub

    Sad day. To be told you can’t do what you do anymore at only age 30 is brutal. He’s a warrior and by all accounts a good guy and hopefully he can continue his life with his family in full health. All the best, Derek.

  • Nation Dan

    Oilers fan here.

    This one is different than someone like that “Bure Fan” clown wants it to be.

    Yes, multi-millionaires retire all the time and that’s fine. But Dorsett is of the breed that didn’t have the greatest “skill” in the traditional sense of the word. This was his first year where his skill was showing as much as his heart and soul.

    When a guy who has literally and figuratively had to fight their way into every minute and inch of ice time they get on the biggest stage in the world for a hockey player.. when that guy has to quit, we should all feel something.

    Unless you’re a “Bure fan”, heartless and just here to cheer on guys until they are traded/shipped/stretchered out and then it’s onto his next childish fandom of another player.

    • Bud Poile

      “What I can say for certain right now is that I left it all out on the ice. I gave my heart and soul to the teams I played for and never backed down from a challenge, including this one. I am proud of the way I played. It made me successful and a good teammate. Most of all I am truly honored and grateful to have lived the NHL dream.” DD goes out a winner.

      • Volcanoligist

        Sad news but not entirely unexpected and in reality for the best long term.

        Speaking of which, can we all spare a thought for a regular poster here, ‘Bud Poile’ who lives on Bali. He must be suffering terribly from the huge Volcanic eruptions that have closed the Islands airport, forced many into homeless shelters and destroyed communications links including internet with huge choking ash clouds currently covering the whole Island!

        Oh wait… Bud is still here and has been every day posting his usual drivel, without a mention or indeed a care in the world… LOL idiot.

        • Bud Poile

          The volcano effects a 7.5 km radius.
          I’m 45 kms away.
          The volcano has yet to blow-except ash-that travelled by wind SE to Lombok.
          You just look like your uneducated a$$hole self,Dud.

          • Volcanoligist

            Took you long enough to google BUD and as usual oh so WRONG

            Locals prepare for disaster as Bali’s Mount Agung threatens to erupt again… “Some 40,000 families are being supported in shelters but an eruption at any moment could leave hundreds of thousands more needing help… molten lava isn’t the only risk, we watch as deadly volcanic mud hammers along the river beds, filling the air with the smell of sulphur.In the sky thick hot ash chokes everything in sight.
            Anything in its path will be destroyed.” – CBC/BBC/NBC

            So you just sit there in your tin shack posting here and on CDC without a care, waiting for it to blow, taking those digusting street mutts for a walk while the whole Island is shut down,communications are toast and THOUSANDS are running for their lives BUD?

            Hahahaha busted…you f-k(i)ng pathetic fantasist loser.

    • Bure Fan

      Make up your mind kid, you tell us Dorsett has no skill… then you chase your own tail by telling us this is ”the first year he is showing his skill too match his heart n soul?” wtf
      What a bizarre meltdown…but then again this is the blogger ‘clown’ who still advocates goons and brawlers in the NHL…you know, guys like Probert, Boogaard, Belak, Montador, Rypien and Dorsett. Luckily, Derek has the opportunity NOT to go down that horrific road now, but Nation Dan is clearly too punch drunk to see it! Grow up.

        • Moderated Post

          Since you brought up reading comprehension, you do realize that Dorsett was figuratively stretchered off into retirement, don’t you? Derek may have only known one way to play the game, but the clowns calling for grit and good in scrums should be hanging their heads. To let a guy who has had his neck fused have 4 fights in 20 games is just sickening (I thought he had just the one right before he was sidelined).

          Last flu season I had stiffness in my neck and ended up taking Advil for a week. I can’t imagine what a herniated disk feels like. And we haven’t even mentioned concussions. Derek will soon just become a footnote on the 2017/18 season, but for his sake I hope his injury is nowhere near as bad as it sounds.

          • gregorr

            Nice post man. Think he is p*ssed because his last fighting glorification on CA got zero replies. The irony is, jerks like him couldn’t punch their way out of a paperbag in the real world. Just another loser who can’t accept fighting in the NHL is done. Get over it.

  • Rodeobill

    I feel bad that his time has come for this, but I also get the feeling that this is the best possible scenario for it to happen. Out at the top of your game, a hero to your mates and fans, fought back from a scary injury with some tingling in your neck. Could have been a lot worse. Now he gets to move on in style, recover properly, be community hero, a full time dad, etc. I kinda feel happy and relieved, even though it sucks losing him on the team.

  • Rolland

    He may be done playing but I seriously doubt he’s done with hockey. There is a place for him somewhere, be it professional or just working with kids. Good Luck Derek. I’ll miss your effort every shift.

    • Confused Canuck

      I’m confused. Before his comeback wasn’t everyone here sayng Dorsett should be traded, bought out, benched or sent down? Now he is a superhero and is a massive loss… bit hypocritical isn’t it?

        • Volcanoligist

          Bud!!!!!! hey man it’s a miracle!! – wow bro, how are you able to post every day with Bali in the midst of a huge Volcanic eruption, please tell us bro?….

          • Bud Poile

            Ubud is an hour’s drive from Gianyar,which is a 1.5 hour drive from Amlapura,Karangasem.From Amlapura it will take another 45 minutes to get to the base of Mt. Agung.
            The volcano has nothing to do with Ubud-hours away.
            There are 4.25 million Indonesians living on Bali.Add tourists and employed internationals.
            Agung has nothing to do with the vast majoity of Bali.
            50% of the locals within the 7.5 km emergency area refuse to leave.
            Farmers/village people are being effected.
            Oh,and Dud the CNN/BBC moron.
            I’m going to the beach for lunch,buy a fuc’ing clue,Dud.

          • gregorr

            “I’m going to the beach for lunch, buy a fuc’ing clue”

            What a terrible statement to make when Bali is in turmoil and thousands are in imminent danger from a serious volcanic eruption. Shows what this guy is all about imo, and he gets three cheers!? Some sad sick-minded people on here…