It’s certainly not as highly anticipated as, oh, say the first return of Alain Vigneault to Vancouver last fall.
Pretty hard to top that, when the former Canucks bench boss returned to Rogers Arena as head coach of the New York Rangers to face his old team in an exhibition game.
But Willie Desjardins, Vancouver’s third head coach since the start of the lockout season, is going back to the site of his first NHL coaching experience. The Canucks are in Dallas to take on the Stars on Tuesday.
Desjardins, hired this summer after the Canucks fired John Tortorella, spent two seasons in Dallas as an associate coach, before going to the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League, where he won a Calder Cup last spring.
“I have lots of thoughts about going back to Dallas,” Desjardins said Monday, as per The Vancouver Sun.
“There are lots of great guys on that team that I’ve coached and I have tons of respect for. I have a lot of respect for the organization and what does that mean? It means I want to win more.”
The Canucks started the season with three consecutive wins, coming against the Calgary Flames and struggling Edmonton Oilers, but lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
The game against Dallas represents the second time in five games the Canucks will play a team that competed in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.
While there might be an individual motivation here, this game is also one the Canucks can use to measure themselves against another good, up-and-coming team.