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Canucks want coach who can ‘get guys excited about what they’re doing’

Jun 20, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT

Canucks AP

The Vancouver Canucks still don’t have a head coach hired for next season. But whether it’s Willie Desjardins, Mike Johnston, Marc Crawford, or any other candidate behind the bench next season, president of hockey operations Trevor Linden says he’ll need to do a better job of stoking the players’ enthusiasm than John Tortorella did last season.

“I think we’re looking for someone who can recapture our people who were so off last year,” Linden said this morning on TEAM 1040 radio in Vancouver (audio).

“I think, in doing that, you need to sell a program that guys can get excited about, and want to be a part of. I think the lack of excitement showed up in our play last year. It kind of permeated in all areas of the club.

“Certainly, you want someone who can get guys excited about what they’re doing, and excited about the style of play.”

That theme is not unique to Vancouver’s situation. The Nashville Predators, for example, hired Peter Laviolette to replace Barry Trotz in part because general manager David Poile thought a more “fun way to play” might strike a chord with his players.

Now, granted, the Canucks didn’t just miss the playoffs because Tortorella’s hockey philosophy didn’t mesh with the roster. Ditto for the Preds and Trotz. But remember that NHL teams are also in the entertainment business, and exciting, free-flowing hockey is a heck of a lot easier to sell than “slow” hockey.

When Tortorella was fired, Linden wrote in a note to season-ticket holders that he was “committed to making it exciting to watch Canucks games throughout the season,” and that he wants to “put a team on the ice that creates buzz and anticipation in the city on game days.”

That’s what the Canucks used to do a short time ago, when they not only won a lot of games, they played an up-tempo style that was pleasing to watch.

Whether they still have the personnel to win that way is a major question for Linden and new general manager Jim Benning. Clearly, though, the Canucks are hoping to kill two birds with one stone with whoever they hire as coach: Stop losing. And stop losing ugly.

  1. bubblehead22 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Then leave Bylsma out

  2. nyrnashty - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    These guys are pros? This is the kind of talk you hear going on at the local rink directed at little kids. Are these quotes serious? Seems like a report from The Onion.

    • imleftcoast - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      Trevor’s kind of a heart on his sleeve guy. Vancouverites love him though. We remember Messier chopping him down and then sitting on his back while he crawled to the bench. No penalty of course – the Canucks were the only ones given those in the ’94 Finals. Bettman had to make sure the Rangers finally won a Cup again.

    • 33to22 - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Linden may know a thing or two about “being a pro” and how a coach can motivate players. Just sayin’. People need to accept (get over) the fact that these “pros” are millionaires. However ludicrous it may be that professional athletes make the amount of money they do, it’s kind of a moot point in this day and age. We often hear pros that are winning talk about how fun and exciting it is when they’re winning and that really is at the heart of all levels of sport. It’s really not that odd of a comment to make.

  3. darksidecowboy - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Any coach will be exciting after Torts. Hard to believe they’d consider Crawford again. Willie Desjardins is all about puck control and attacking the net, sounds like fun to me. Who wants to use their face to block shots?

  4. AppealToReason - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    It makes sense. When the team was it its best for those couple years from like 09-12 you could just tell how much fun they were having.

    Now they look miserable and don’t even seem to enjoy a win like they used to. Instead it looks like they’re relieved they didn’t lose versus excited they won

  5. mss627 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:23 AM

    Might I recommend Scarlett Johansson? She’d certainly get me out of bed in the morning!

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