Desjardins sticks up for Horvat — ‘You’ve got to remember, Bo’s 20’

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With all the talk about the recent struggles of the Vancouver Canucks, it’s interesting how little Brandon Sutter‘s name has come up.

Sutter has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. The Canucks are 0-3-1 in the 26-year-old center’s absence. Before then, he’d been one of the team’s most reliable defensive players.

In a related story, young Bo Horvat is a combined minus-6 in the past four games.

Coach Willie Desjardins knows full well that Horvat is being asked to do a lot for a second-year NHLer.

“You’ve got to recognize that he’s anchoring sometimes with two young players,” Desjardins told TSN 1040 yesterday, referring to Horvat’s occasional wingers, Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen.

“You put a centerman there to kind of anchor the line. You’ve got to remember, Bo’s 20.”

Without Sutter, Desjardins has limited options at center. Henrik Sedin, obviously, gets the first-line spot. That leaves Horvat, plus two guys who weren’t even supposed to make the team this season, rookie Jared McCann and career bottom-six forward Adam Cracknell.

This is the lineup the Canucks had Wednesday in Winnipeg:

So let’s see here:

— A 19-year-old rookie center (McCann)
— A 20-year-old sophomore center (Horvat)
— A 19-year-old rookie winger (Virtanen)
— A winger playing his first NHL game (Grenier)
— A d-man who was playing college hockey last year (Hutton)

Shockingly, Vancouver lost.