Dorsett, Sbisa survived uncertainty – and received their rewards

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks' Derek Dorsett, 51, is taken down behind the Los Angels Kings net by Jonathan Quick, 32.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Derek Dorsett, 51, is taken down behind the Los Angels Kings net by Jonathan Quick, 32.

Photograph by: Mark van Manen, PNG

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VANCOUVER - The hockey world is a relatively small one for the elite player but not everyone is palsy-walsy, which is why Derek Dorsett and Luca Sbisa admitted Thursday they had some apprehension about entering the Vancouver Canucks’ dressing room for the first time last fall.

Maybe their personalities wouldn’t mesh with the leadership group. Maybe the coaches wouldn’t like them. Even worse, maybe they wouldn’t like the coaches. Happily for winger Dorsett and defenceman Sbisa, things have worked out fine. Both received contract extensions this week, Dorsett signing for four years at $10.6 million, Sbisa for three at $10.8 million.

“Yeah, for sure, there was uncertainly,” Dorsett said Thursday, speaking for the first time after agreeing to his new deal. “Any time you come to a new organization and a new team, you’re not familiar with anybody. The only guy I knew was Tommy Sestito.

“Obviously when you come into a locker room full of guys you’ve had some pretty good wars against, it can be a little difficult and nerve-wracking. But the guys were here with open arms and it just shows what kind of leaders are on this team. It’s been a lot of fun. As soon as I got here, they were welcoming to me and my family. It just made me realize I wanted to be here a long time.”

At 28, and with a lot of tough miles and fights behind him, Dorsett could be a risky investment in the contract’s latter years. Naturally, he doesn’t think that will be an issue.

“I believe that I can keep going upwards,” he responded. “It’s going to take a lot of commitment and work in the off-season to make sure the body stays healthy and I’m more than ready to do that. I’m going to do whatever I can to stay healthy throughout my whole career.

“It was great that we could come to terms and keep both sides happy. Going into playoffs, all you want is that to be your main focus. It’s a great relief to get the contract over with.”

Sbisa struggled through much of the season’s first half but seemed to find his groove in mid-February when top four defencemen Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa were all out of the lineup. He has also been an integral part of the team’s outstanding penalty kill unit.

“From a personal standpoint, the contract is huge,” said Sbisa, 25. “There were a lot of question marks coming into this year and joining a new team, so it’s great to have the confidence from management and coaches to be here for another three years.

“Sometimes it kind of takes a while to find your identity and see where you fit in,” he continued. “I think when those injuries happened on the back end it was an opportunity for some other guys. I think that’s when I stepped up a bit and started playing better hockey. It’s nice to get rewarded with the contract.”

Meanwhile, forward Shawn Matthias, who sat out Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes with a minor injury, insisted he’ll be ready for next week’s playoff opener.

“I don’t think there is anything that is going to stop me from being ready for next Wednesday,” Matthias said. “I’ve played in the playoffs once (with Florida) and it was amazing. I’m so excited.”

epap@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks' Derek Dorsett, 51, is taken down behind the Los Angels Kings net by Jonathan Quick, 32.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Derek Dorsett, 51, is taken down behind the Los Angels Kings net by Jonathan Quick, 32.

Photograph by: Mark van Manen, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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