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Canucks coach Desjardins to miss training camp

by Tim Wharnsby

TORONTO -- Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins had surgery to repair a flare-up of a chronic hip condition and will not be on the ice at training camp, it was announced Wednesday.

The Canucks said they expect Desjardins to be behind the bench for the season opener at the Calgary Flames on Oct. 7.

"Willie has been dealing with the chronic discomfort for a long time and our medical staff has been monitoring it since he joined us last year," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. "Unfortunately his hip deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks and it required immediate attention. Willie's expected to recover quickly and will be connected every day until he's ready to be back in person."

Captain Henrik Sedin and forward Daniel Sedin met with Desjardins in Vancouver recently and he alerted them to his health issue.

"I don't think it matters," Daniel Sedin said Wednesday during the NHL Player Media Tour. "He'll be around watching practices. I think it might even be better for him to get a better overview. I know he wants to be on the ice, but he was there last year. We have great assistant coaches who can run the drills."

Travis Green, coach of the Canucks' American Hockey League affiliate in Utica will handle the coaching duties for the Young Stars Classic tournament, which begins in Penticton, British Columbia on Friday. Canucks assistant coaches Doug Lidster, Glen Gulutzan and Perry Pearn will run training camp.

"Those sorts of things are going to happen," Henrik Sedin said. "The good thing is he'll be back in time for the season.

"We have a strong group of coaches who are close and can get the job done. We have a lot of young guys, new to the team. But I don't think it will be a problem."

Last season, Desjardins' first with the Canucks, they finished second in the Pacific Division with 101 points. It was an 18-point improvement from 2013-14 when they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Sedins enjoyed bounce-back seasons, too, each finishing in the top 10 in NHL scoring averaging less than 19 minutes per game. Daniel tied for eighth with 76 points averaging 18:21 per game; Henrik tied for 10th with 73 points averaging 18:36.

"It was different," Daniel Sedin said. "He really enjoyed playing four lines. We talked to him about maybe playing more throughout the year, but he stuck with his game plan. I think it really helped us as players and the team too.

"I have all the respect in the world for him and our entire coaching staff. They did a good job. Hopefully we can build on that and be a bit better."

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