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Willie Desjardins knows future with Canucks in doubt

Vancouver plans to 'look at our options' at coach after season

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Coach Willie Desjardins knows his future with the Vancouver Canucks is uncertain, even with another season left on his contract.

Desjardins was asked Wednesday about comments made by Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden the day before, when he said he plans to "look at our options" at coach after this season.

"I think it always matters to you; how could it not matter? That's your job you are looking at," Desjardins said. "But I can't control that. I can control what I do with the team, I can control the players, and I feel like the organization always has to look at things, they just have to."

The Canucks (28-30-8) are seven points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Linden, asked if Desjardins would be back next season, on Tuesday told TSN Vancouver 1040, "We're going to take our time and look at our options at the end of the season, and I'll have to do a full assessment of our organization, as I always do, and we'll move forward from that point."

Desjardins, 60, was given a four-year contract when he was hired June 23, 2014 to replace John Tortorella. The Canucks reached the playoffs in Desjardins' first season but finished 28th in the NHL last season.

Vancouver traded veteran forwards Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen before the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline and continue to straddle the line between trying to win now with veterans Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin and building for the future by incorporating young players.

Desjardins has been criticized by media and fans for player deployment, a 28th-ranked power play, a 25th-ranked penalty kill, and emphasizing winning at the expense of ice time for younger players. But Linden complimented Desjardins for his role in developing forwards Bo Horvat (21), Sven Baertschi (24) and Markus Granlund (23) by making sure they earn ice time, offensive roles, and the coach's trust by proving they can play defensively first.

"There are so many ways to look at a job, like what a person has done and where they are at, and to me it's sticking up for your players, it's battling for your players, and it's finding a way to get the best out of them, and that's what I do," Desjardins said. "That's what I want to continue doing, and if it's not a fit then that's not a fit, but that doesn't change how I go about doing it."

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