Vancouver Canucks: Coaching Controversy Far From Over

Feb 19, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins watches from his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins watches from his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 25, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Case for Willie Desjardins

And of course, real good Willie Desjardins is still here, in the second year of his three-year contract. Unless the Canucks extend him, I expect that the 2016-17 season will be the last one for Willie in Vancouver, perhaps the last one in the NHL for him.

Let’s read more about what Trevor Linden had to say. This, again, is from Province Sports.

"Linden on how Desjardins relates to his players: “We’ve seen improvement and that speaks to the staff and the older players and some mentoring there. I like the fact he connects well with the players and he understands them and respects them. And these are tough circumstances. Our group for the most part has played hard and he gets the most out of them.” Linden on how Desjardins has handled criticism: “In Vancouver, it’s tough. You’re scrutinized in everything you do and people want to place blame wherever they can. He’s done a good job and work hard. He’s got the fire and wants to win.”"

With that in mind, here is what I say.

Just let it be.

Let the man have his wish, to work four lines of youth and to give Sedins some fatigue-less nights. The youth movement, as rough and tumble as this season has been, happened. Sure, Bo Horvat and Jared McCann are having their slumps and Jake Virtanen needed a whipping from the World Juniors to get his play to where it is now — but otherwise the team’s transition to becoming the Medicine Hat Tigers a young team has been seamless.

Related: TANKING 101: A Coach’s One Man Show?

After all, it is just one more season. To end his tenure with a terrible finish to the season marred by injuries to his captain, second-best centreman, three of the top-four defencemen, and his starting netminder… that is a nightmare way to get fired. And of course, Linden has already committed to him for the coming season. Just let it be.

You know, playing four lines means that Jake Virtanen gets the same minutes as, let’s say, Emerson Etem. But it will also mean that Brendan Gaunce gets some 12 minutes of ice time on any given night. Like a juniors team that wants to develop all of its players, the Canucks could use Willie’s distribution of ice time to transition the youth into the NHL.Why not?

Why not? The city has survived one year of it already?

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