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Desjardins should be at opener, Canucks GM says

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins should be able to coach the season opener after he is expected to miss training camp following hip surgery this week.

The Canucks play at the Calgary Flames on Oct. 7.

"I don't expect him to miss more than one or two exhibition games," general manager Jim Benning told the Vancouver Sun on Friday. "He for sure is going to be ready [for the start of the regular season]. He is chomping at the bit now. He is bugging me to get back at it right now. He had the operation (Tuesday) and later that day was hobbling around on crutches. There is no way that he is going to sit around idly. He is ready to get going."

Desjardins, 58, was 48-29-5 in his first season with the Canucks, who lost to the Flames in the Western Conference First Round.

Vancouver plays its first preseason game Sept. 21, and Benning said he isn't concerned about Desjardins being absent.

"I think it would have been a bigger deal last year," Benning said. "We have a good leadership group and the other coaches will go over the systems. But for the most part the guys know the systems and stuff from last year."

Desjardins won't be able to skate for about a month.

"He will be directing the coaches during practice and he'll have his hands on what is going on with the team," Benning said. "He won't be able to get on the ice for probably four weeks or so."

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.

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