The Vancouver Canucks lost 5-2 against the Minnesota Wild, putting their coach Willie Desjardins in the hot seat.
When things aren’t going well, fans like to find a scapegoat. For the Vancouver Canucks, however, it was different for the longest time. Everyone knew it would be extremely hard to make the playoffs, so when the club was still in playoff reach 50 games into the season, they were exceeding expectations. That has changed.
On Saturday, the Canucks celebrated Retro Night, sporting their black, red and yellow skate jerseys that had been worn in the late 1980s and 1990s, in a game against the NHL’s worst team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was supposed to be a great night, as captain Henrik Sedin would take the franchise lead in games played. But then, the Canucks lost 5-2 in their worst effort of the season.
So, obviously, everyone was motivated to turn things around two nights later against the Minnesota Wild.
There is a difference between saying things and showing up on the ice. The Canucks got to learn that the hard way, as they lost 5-2 again, in a game that was just as terrible as that against the Leafs.
When Zach Parise scored for the 1-0 lead halfway through the first period, the Canucks were outshot 12-2. After the first periods, shots were 17-4. At home. After claiming they want the win more than Minnesota. Good one.
Vancouver tied the game at 1-1, and when Minnesota took a 3-1 lead, they came back to make it 3-2 instead of giving up. But looking at the game as a whole, it is impossible to say anything positive.
Willie, what’s happening in Vancouver is not “real good” anymore. No. It’s “real bad.”
When the Canucks faced the Columbus Blue Jackets, the worst team in the league at the time, they lost. When they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs, the new worst team in the league, they lost. When they faced the Wild who were on an eight-game losing streak, they lost.
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Vancouver’s home record of 9-12-5 is the worst in the West and the Canucks are now the worst team in the past 15 games.
It would be stupid to go out and try to find a scapegoat. Willie Desjardins is not the scapegoat. He is simply the one to blame.
This team has shown it can win. Henrik and Daniel Sedin are still elite, Bo Horvat is developing into an elite player, Christopher Tanev is something like a defensive prototype, Sven Baertschi, Ben Hutton, Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and Jacob Markstrom have shown a ton of potential. This team can win — and it is up to the coach to make them win.
Aside from the fact that the coach is responsible for how the team plays strategy-wise, it is also the coach’s job to motivate his players. Can you see Desjardins motivating someone? I really cannot imagine what that is supposed to look like.
Nobody really cares if the Canucks miss the playoffs. For fans, a high draft pick is almost as nice as being in the playoffs — some even claim it’s better than being in the playoffs. But there is nothing worse than seeing the team you pay for play completely effortless and without a chance to win the game. It is the fans who pay money to see them play and it is absolutely unacceptable to perform like this team did in their last two games.
That may sound like it is the players’ fault, but a different coach might change a lot. This is not trying to find a scapegoat. It is simply the coach’s job to make sure his team plays to their abilities.
That is not to say the Canucks should fire Desjardins right now or after the season, but his seat is certainly getting hot. Real hot.
What do you think? Is Willie Desjardins the right man for the job? Let us know in the comments!