Coaching Lifer Desjardins Spurns Pens, Picks Nux

Published on 21-Jun-2014 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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Coaching Lifer Desjardins Spurns Pens, Picks Nux

All right, then. Maybe Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin & Co aren't coaching magnets.

Then again, maybe Pittsburgh's retread GM Jim Rutherford is as clumsy with his negotiations as he is with his public comments.

It's clear that whomever he hires to replace Dan Bylsma behind the Pens' bench is a bridesmaid:

The guy I had is going to go in a different direction ... I'll work off the same list I had, but it will be expanded by two or three names that for whatever reason weren't considered for interviews the last time.

That's a rather low-bar remark from a dude in authority with Mario Lemieux's team, one that packs the house, is a perennial Stanley Cup favorite, and plays attractive hockey.

And who is spurning all this?

Willie Desjardins, who has spent all of two seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Stars. However, this is only because he's been his own man throughout his coaching career and done well by being so. He's casting his lot with Vancouver.

Desjardins is coming off an impressive stint with the AHL Texas Stars, who raised the Calder Cup a few days ago. He's more aligned with an Alain Vigneault style of play than, say, John Tortorella. That alone should keep Canucks fans in place for now; they perhaps didn't appreciate the former as much as they should have until they endured a season with the latter, who was hampered with a roster built for the former instead of the latter.

But that's Vancouver. It hosts one of the NHL's most intensely critical media hordes and sometimes forgets it's never, ever won a Stanley Cup. One season in the 'Couv can seem like a lifetime when the team's not winning. And many lifetimes have come to an end there.

Incredibly, given the chance to doof it up again, the Nux confounded the hockey world and actually made a smart hire in rookie GM Trevor Linden. This may prove to be really smart if Desjardins shows he can return the Sédin twins and entourage to the top tier of the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, back in the 'Burgh, it seems one of the leading candidates now is Ulf Samuelsson, mainly because he's one of the few names left on the dawdling Rutherford's list. Perhaps he's the ideal fit there, and Rutherford would never have to worry about losing him to Vancouver. Ulfie's the dude whose cheap shot on Comox BC native Cam Neely lives in the annals of infamy there as much as it does in Boston.