He is a more mature individual that has gone from a “young punk,” as he puts it, to a soon to be family man that is now looked upon for leadership with the Chicago Wolves.
Canucks.com caught up with the Wolves alternate captain to shed some light on his decision to return to the Canucks organization, his soon-to-be dad status, and those hated Calgary Flames.
Canucks.com: What went into the decision for you to come back to the Canucks organization?
Desbiens: “We were talking to a couple teams, but for me and my wife I think it was the best fit; Scott (Arniel) coached me for a few years in Manitoba with the Moose and I had my best seasons playing for him. I played with Vancouver, they know me, they know what I can do, I have familiarity with them, and if the chance comes, I know they will give one to me if I play well enough.”
CDC: How nice is it to have that familiarity with the organization, both in Vancouver and Chicago?
D: “I played in Chicago for the Wolves in the past and I have played with most of the guys that are on the team now while in Manitoba, so I already knew most of the guys. My wife is from Minnesota and she is about to give birth, so it’s nice to be close to her family when the baby comes so her mom will be able to come and help out.”
CDC: Safe to say it was a pretty easy decision to come back?
D: ”It was a really easy decision, as soon as I mentioned it to my wife she was like ‘yes we are going there, sign there please!’”
CDC: Is this your first child? Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?
D: “Yes it’s our first child, it will be a girl, and she is due on Christmas Eve. It’s all pretty exciting.”
CDC: Christmas Eve seems like good timing considering you guys will be off from December 23rd to the 26th.
D: “Yeah, hopefully she can deliver a couple days before the break so we can enjoy the break and get some rest, or lack there off.”
CDC: When you made your NHL debut with the Canucks back in 2009, the guys hid your helmet on you prior to warm-ups. Now that you’re a veteran, would you ever do anything like that to a rookie?
D: “Nothing like that, but a few times in Abbotsford last year when a player would get called up and it was his first game with us, we would tell him to lead us on the ice for warm-ups but would stay back and let him do a couple ‘hot laps.’ It’s pretty funny, everyone laughs and the player would be pretty embarrassed.”
CDC: What has changed the most about you since the last time you were part of the organization?
D: “I think I have matured quite a bit, back then I was just a young punk, I didn’t know how to be a professional. I have played with some exceptional leaders that have showed me the way to prepare, to play, and to recover.”
CDC: Vancouver vs. Calgary is a huge rivalry, what was it like playing on the other side?
D: “I didn’t get the chance to play against Vancouver so I didn’t get the chance to enjoy the rivalry, but I had a couple friends say to me ‘how go from Vancouver to Calgary?’ When you’re with one team, you’re with that team and when you’re with the other, you’re just with the other. It’s exciting and hopefully I will get to experience the rivalry at the NHL level.”
CDC: Did some of the Flames players ever ask you for any tips on how to shut down the Sedins?
D: (Laughs). “like I said I didn’t get the chance to play them, and even if I did I am pretty sure they wouldn’t have asked me because there really isn’t a secret to shut them down, you basically just have to do your best and hope. They are that good.”
CDC: One last one, did you ever see former Flames head coach Brent Sutter smile?
D: “Surprisingly, I did. Before I signed with Calgary I was like wow, he doesn’t smile a whole lot, but when you know him as a coach and in the locker room he actually is a lot nicer than you think he is when you see him on TV. I was surprised with that. He was really nice to me and gave me a pretty good chance, and yeah, I saw him smile a few times.”
CDC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Guillaume, welcome back to the organization and all the best.
D: “Thank you; it was no problem at all.”