British Columbia

Canucks rebound credited to strong forwards, good coaching

The Vancouver Canucks are second in the Pacific Division, a surprising success for fans who doubted the NHL team at the beginning of season.

President Trevor Linden says this season's success comes down to some strategic moves made by the team

Vancouver Canucks' head coach Willie Desjardins, left, and president of hockey operations Trevor Linden laugh during a news conference in Vancouver. Desjardins replaced John Tortorella who was fired at the end of last season. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The Vancouver Canucks are second in the Pacific Division, a surprising success for fans who doubted the NHL team at the beginning of season.

The team has seen a lot of changes in its line-up and coaching staff after a devastating 2013-14 season.

Those changes left the team with a lot of rebuilding to do, setting the bar low for this season.

The Canucks have silenced their doubters by winning consistently, and looking good doing it.

"We expected to make the playoffs, and that was our goal," president Trevor Linden told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"Obviously we had a lot changes this summer, and one of our goals was to obviously add depth to the forward group."

Linden said trading defenceman Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning allowed the team to free up the money to acquire right winger Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata is the third leading scorer on the team, after Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Vancouver Canucks forwards Henrik Sedin, left, and twin brother Daniel, are the top scorers for the team this season. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

"We're getting contributions throughout our line-up, obviously, on the goal front," Linden said.

"It's the sum of all parts, I think."

One of the integral changes has been new head coach Willie Desjardins.

"I think the big thing that struck me with Willie is he had the ability to connect with players. You can put all the Xs and Os on the board you want, but you have to be able to connect with players," said Linden.

Linden said Desjardins has also gone a long way to recharge the Sedin twins, who are now in their 14th season.

"He's put them in a position to be successful," he said.

"I say this to fans all the time. Enjoy it because we will never see two guys play like this as long as we watch the National Hockey League, so it's pretty special."

To hear the full interview with Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden, click the audio labelled: Trevor Linden on Canucks' rebound.


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