While the response is somewhat muted (though proportionate for the excitement level some have for this tournament without the NHL’s participation), at least one Canadian media outlet is calling out Willie Desjardins for the national disgrace that is this year’s Men’s Olympic Hockey squad losing to the Czech Republic. And that puts me in an awkward position, one in which I am forced to defend the former Canucks coach.
The author of the article, Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star, doesn’t seem to be too familiar with a few really key concepts here. The most important one is who Willie Desjardins is in the first place. He seems incredulous that a Canadian coach would utter something like this: “Korea is going to be tough,” Desjardins said.
Look, we get the whole disconnect with the rest of the country, and having moved to within a few miles of the self-proclaimed Center Of The Universe, I see how the media focus misses out on the edges of this vast nation. But as anyone who even remotely follows the Canucks, especially during Desjardins’ tenure as coach, you know that this is literally THE ONLY THAT WILLIE WOULD SAY. It could be a team that was forced to share one stick amongst them, and you’d still get that quote from Willie. Verbatim.
He goes on to, and I kid you not, make a psychological assessment of Desjardins based upon his facial expressions and movements behind the bench during the game. What a bunch of complete and utter shite. You all know I was not a fan of Desjardins, not even in year 1 (remember, where they put up 100+ points and got their lunch handed to them by the Flames in the first round?). But to take these kinds of cheap shots is pretty disgraceful, even more so when it’s obvious this guy’s exposure to Desjardins seems to have been limited to their annual appearance at the ACC.
It’s not that Willie doesn’t deserve criticism after the loss. I mean, it was a real deja-vu moment for Canucks fans when he had 4th liners Maxim Lapierre and Rob Klinkhammer out for an offensive zone faceoff late in the game. And don’t even get me started on not using Mason ‘Spin-o-Rama’ Raymond in the shootout. But mocking Canada losing to the Czechs, a team that’s running nearly the same one they used at the last World Championships, as though Canada was able to use their greatest names is just a really shitty take.
Yes, Canada is a proud hockey nation. And yes, no matter what the situation, Gold is always the goal. But if you’re unable to realize the situation that these guys are in, and realize they’re underdogs and not favorites like we’ve been accustomed to since the beginning of the NHL’s participation in the Olympics, you look more delusional that US coach Tony Granato refusing to shake the hand of the OAR’s coach following their 4-0 loss because he felt the Russians were “trying to run up the score”. At the end of the day, the lack of knowledge about who he is and who these guys are is no excuse for the kind of dragging they’re getting here.