Desjardins Thanks Family, Fans and Canucks
VANCOUVER - With the logo of the team that fired him just 72 hours earlier covered by a black curtain on the wall to his right, Willie Desjardins started to go through a list of people he wanted to thank.
The former head coach of the Vancouver Canucks began Thursday's press conference with glowing words about his family, the club and its fans. Desjardins even gave kudos to the media, but his voice started to crack when he returned to a conversation he had with Alexandre Burrows after the veteran forward was traded at the end of February.
"When he was going to leave, he goes: 'I was just really disappointed that I couldn't win a Cup in this market. I felt I let the market down,'" said Desjardins, his eyes starting to water. "And that's what I think. It's the same thing.
"(Burrows) gave everything he had ... I did the same."
Desjardins was fired by the Canucks on Monday at the conclusion of a miserable season, one that saw Vancouver lose its final eight games in regulation to finish 29th in the NHL's overall standings with a 30-43-9 record.
The 60-year-old made the playoffs with a 101-point campaign in 2014-15 as a rookie NHL head coach. But as the Canucks attempted to transition from an aging core to younger players while at the same time trying to stay competitive, they dropped to 75 points and a 28th-place finish in 2015-16 before the just-completed 69-point effort.