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Canucks fire Desjardins as head coach

Vancouver Canucks v Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks watches from the bench during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The Vancouver Canucks have fired Willie Desjardins as head coach.

The news, first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, should come as no surprise.

The Canucks missed the playoffs for a second straight year under Desjardins. They finished 28th overall last season, and dipped to 29th this season.

“We made a very difficult decision to relieve Willie Desjardins of his duties as head coach today,” said GM Jim Benning in a statement. “It’s been a challenging season and we all share responsibility for the results; however, we felt this change was necessary as we continue to develop a young team and look ahead to the future.”

Particularly damning for the coaching staff were Vancouver’s special teams -- the penalty killed finished 28th, and the power play 29th.

Assistant coaches Doug Lidster and Perry Pearn were also fired today.

Desjardins was hired in the summer of 2014 and led the Canucks to the playoffs in his first season behind the bench. But a loss to Calgary in the first round marked the turning of the team’s fortunes. It’s been a tough go ever since, and today Desjardins paid the price.

Vancouver joins Vegas, Dallas and Florida as teams with a head-coaching vacancy.

Travis Green, the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica, could be a candidate to replace Desjardins.