The Canucks' coaching search may be coming to an end sooner than expected. They may be naming Wilie Desjardins the new coach before the draft. While the Penguins seemed to be the frontrunners to land him, negotiations fell apart. Let's take a look what's being said.
The Penguins did not get their guy.
"The guy I had is going to go in a different direction," general manager Jim Rutherford said Friday afternoon.
Rutherford had said Thursday the coaching search was "coming to an end" and that he decided on one of eight candidates to interview for the job.
Rutherford declined to identify his chosen candidate.
Team and league sources said Rutherford spent Thursday night and Friday morning meeting with Willie Desjardins, a minor-league coach with only two years of experience as an NHL assistant. Topics discussed included assistant coaches, contract length and Desjardin's possible salary, the sources said.
"We couldn't make it work," Rutherford said, adding he will start another coaching search next week.
Nothing signed yet, but Willie Desjardins will be in VAN this weekend. Assuming all goes as expected, he'll be introduced as coach next wk.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 20, 2014
Willie Desjardins is certainly the front runner for the #canucks head coaching job, but the plan is to still interview Scott Arniel as well.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) June 20, 2014
Who knows why the negotiations fell apart with Pittsburgh. Likely dollars and / or length of term.
With Glen Gulutzan still employed as a Canucks assistant coach, this could favor a Desjardins decision, as they worked together with the Stars organization. Another assistant coach needs to be found still. Maybe that's where Scott Arniel fits in? I don't know.Dan Murphy has a good idea:
If Desjardins takes the #canucks job its almost guaranteed that he'll bring Doug Lidster to be a part of his staff.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) June 20, 2014
That's right, former Canucks defenceman and 1994 nemesis Doug Lidster.
Trevor Linden told reports that he spoke to Dan Bylsma for 5 hours on Wednesday, but nothing more seems to have come of it.
My Desjardins profile written earlier in the month, but first, some more excellent tire-pumping of Willie from Vancouver Giants' goalie coach Eli Wilson:
"There won’t be a player on that team who won’t say, ‘That’s the best coach I’ve played for in my life,’" Wilson said. "It won’t happen. It won’t matter if they are superstars or guys coming up from the minors."
That and more via Jason Botchford at the Province. Can somebody please say something bad about this guy? It's as though he sits at the right hand of you-know-who. Hey, it's VANCOUVER. We'll find something!
-Assistant and then head coach at the University Of Calgary between 1985-89.
-coached the Seibu Bears in Japan (interesting)
-returned to Canada to become head coach of the Saskatoon Blades (WHL) in 1997.
-He led the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) to resurgence as a head coach in the early 2000's including a Memorial Cup win in 2004. He later became GM of the team.
-Was associate coach with the Dallas Stars from 2010-12 (next to some guy named Gulutzan)
-Was named head coach of the Texas Stars (AHL) in 2012. The Texas Stars are about to begin the Calder Cup Finals against the St. John's Ice Caps. Interestingly enough, one of Desjardins' assistant coaches in Texas is former Canuck Doug Lidster.
Vern Fiddler pumped Desjardins' tires recently:
"One of the biggest things I noticed is that he really cares about everybody and he knows that everybody is different. I was in the league for six or seven years and he still found a way to get more out of you. Even as an assistant coach, he was a guy who would push you to different levels and I definitely found that guys respected him for that."
"He respected our opinions, and when he was running our penalty kill, he would definitely consider them. He didn’t have an ego that it was going to be his way or no way. It was always the collective of what can we do to be better? He did what was best and wants to be an NHL head coach. You’ve seen what he’s done with that (AHL) team. He’s taken them from the bottom of the barrel to the top now — and he’s getting the success he deserves."
Here is Willie talking to the media when he became coach of the Texas Stars:
Did he say he wants the team to be fast-skating? Ding ding! Love working with the kids? Ding ding!
Willie playing and coaching stats can be seen here at the Internet Hockey Database.
Sploosh. Not much NHL experience? Jim Benning doesn't care. Benning wants a proven winner. Desjardins could be the top dog.
On the Mike Santorelli front:
Mike Santorelli told Team 1040 on Wednesday that the 100% wants to remain a Canuck. Unfortunately you can't get too stoked about such statements when dollars are involved:
RFA Mike Santorelli's agent J.P Barry says the gap didn't close much this week but he will try again next week. #Canucks— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) June 20, 2014
We'll see what happens there.
Business is picking up! It's been a sluggish period but the tempo is about to change. Speaking of tempo changes: SLAAAAAAYERRRRRRRRRR: