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Desjardins, staff will return to Canucks next season: report

Coach has two years remaining on contract @NHL

Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins and his coaching staff will return next season, president of hockey operations Trevor Linden told The Province.

The Canucks are 25-27-12 this season and are 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"We expected to be very young this year -- which we are -- and we've handed Willie a real challenge with several rookies on any given night and I think he has performed well," Linden told the newspaper. "I'm not making any excuses, but there's no reason for us to consider a change. The rookies have made steps. Nothing is perfect."

Desjardins, who has two years remaining on his contract, led the Canucks to a 48-29-5 record last season. They were defeated by the Calgary Flames in six games in the Western Conference First Round.

"We've seen improvement and that speaks to the staff and the older players and some mentoring there," Linden said. "I like the fact [Desjardins] connects well with the players and he understands them and respects them. And these are tough circumstances. Our group, for the most part, has played hard and he gets the most out of them.

"In Vancouver, it's tough. You're scrutinized in everything you do and people want to place blame wherever they can. He's done a good job and works hard. He's got the fire and wants to win."

Desjardins was appreciative of Linden and general manager Jim Benning for sticking with him during the Canucks' youth movement.

"It's good. Trevor's always been great with us," Desjardins said following a 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. "And Jim [Benning] too. I think we all know this situation we came into. I think that's a situation we just came into, and it's going to be a tough situation, and we have to make sure we keep developing our young players.

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