Derek Dorsett

Canucks trusting rookie Horvat with some tough assignments


Typically, when an NHL coach has a 19-year-old rookie in his lineup, that coach will do everything in his power to keep the kid away from the opposition’s top lines.

And that goes double when the opposition’s top forwards include Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

But that wasn’t the case Saturday in Vancouver, where Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, armed with the last change, had center Bo Horvat out there to take seven faceoffs against Crosby and five against Malkin.

There were even times when Desjardins pulled the Sedins off the ice so Horvat could battle Crosby in the circle.

Horvat, not surprisingly, was thrilled with the level of trust he received from his coach.

“Sid’s one of the best players in the world, if not the best,” he said after Vancouver’s 5-0 win, the second time the Canucks had shut out the Penguins this season.

“To go against him in some draws and play against him a lot of shifts, it was special. … Here I am, a 19-year-old kid playing against all these great players. I was surprised it went so well.”

Horvat, skating on a line with veteran wingers Jannik Hansen and Derek Dorsett, also victimized Malkin at the Pittsburgh blue line, leading to Horvat’s fifth goal of the season.

“I think that line’s been so big for us,” said Desjardins. “If we’re able to [put that line out against good competition], it just gives us good matches with the other lines.”

The Canucks, in case you’d forgotten, drafted Horvat with the ninth overall pick they received from New Jersey in the Cory Schneider trade.

Related: Canucks’ Desjardins delivers the news to Horvat

Frustrated Kassian doesn’t ‘know what is going on’ after being scratched again


From the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap:

The explanation from coach Willie Desjardins was that Kassian has to be more consistent. Which is the same explanation it’s always been with Kassian since he came to Vancouver in the Cody Hodgson trade.

To be sure, Kassian did have a few good moments in Friday’s 5-2 win over Buffalo…

At the same time, a lot of players have good moments against the Sabres. The 24-year-old winger also took another undisciplined penalty (by needlessly slashing goalie Matt Hackett) when the game was still up for grabs in the second period.

Kassian was scratched Sunday against the Wild because 1) Desjardins wanted to get Derek Dorsett, who missed the Sabres game with an injury, back into the lineup and 2) the coach decided to keep rookie Ronalds Kenins in the lineup in order to get a better look at the 23-year-old Latvian (who ended up scoring his first NHL goal).

Where this all ends up is hard to say. Kassian, with just two goals and four assists in 26 games, is clearly frustrated, and this won’t stop the trade rumors.

At the same time, what’s the market for Kassian right now? His trade value has arguably never been lower.

Latvian forward Kenins called up to Canucks


The Vancouver Canucks have recalled forward Ronalds Kenins from AHL Utica.

As you might have guessed by the name, Kenins is Latvian. The 23-year-old represented his country in the 2014 Winter Olympics and was part of the group that came close to upsetting Canada in Sochi.

If Kenins makes his NHL debut tomorrow versus Buffalo (which, of course, features Latvian Zemgus Girgensons), it will most likely be in a fourth-line energy role in place of winger Derek Dorsett, who appeared to suffer a head injury in a controversial collision with Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler on Tuesday.

Kenins has five goals and seven assists in 36 games for Utica this season.

No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett


Anaheim forward Ryan Kesler has no disciplinary hearing scheduled for his hit on Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett from Tuesday night, per an NHL spokesman.

The incident occurred early in the second period. Kesler wasn’t penalized on the play; Dorsett left the ice in some discomfort and didn’t return to the contest:

Following the game, Vancouver captain — and Kesler’s former teammate — Henrik Sedin voiced his displeasure about both the hit and the referee’s decision not to penalize Kesler.

From The Province:

“We all saw the replay,” Henrik Sedin said. “I thought it was going to be a five-minute call.

“That’s what we all thought on the bench.”

So why didn’t a ref call a penalty?

“He said it was accidental,” Henrik said…

…Henrik was adamant Kesler should not, and will not, get off without being sentenced by the league for this one.

“If the refs miss it, that’s going to happen, but the league is going to have to take care of this because it’s a dirty play,” Henrik said.

“It shouldn’t be a part of hockey.”

Kesler suggested the hit was accidental.

“All I know is I was going for the puck and felt him hit me, hope he’s all right,” he explained, per the L.A. Times. “It’s unfortunate. It’s a fast game out there. Didn’t even see him. Wasn’t malicious at all. Just trying to get the puck out of the zone.”

The league could still schedule a hearing with Kesler, though it would need to reverse its decision quickly as the Ducks are back in action tomorrow night against San Jose.

Related: Vancouver’s just another city to Kesler now

Vancouver’s just another city to Kesler now


The scoreboard didn’t scream “drama” between the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks last night, as the Ducks handily won 4-0. It sounds like Ryan Kesler’s over his former link to the city, too.

Despite spending the first 10 years of his NHL career with the Canucks, Kesler essentially referred to Vancouver as just another of the 29 stops he’ll visit whenever the Ducks are away from Anaheim.

Here is what he told TSN 1040’s Stu Walters:

As you can see from the video on his hit on Derek Dorsett (which left the grinding forward with an upper-body injury), Kesler was full of unfriendly statements on Tuesday.

One can excuse Vancouver crowds if they still take notice of the 30-year-old, though.