Canucks stand by rookie Jake Virtanen after WJC loss

The Vancouver Canucks rallied around Jake Virtanen on Sunday, defending the young rookie after his less-than-impressive showing at the World Juniors tournament that has him taking some heat.

Canadian hockey fans are still reeling from Team Canada’s quarterfinal loss to Finland on Saturday at the 2016 world junior hockey championship.

Much of the blame for the disappointing outcome has fallen squarely on the shoulders of Vancouver Canucks rookie Jake Virtanen.

Virtanen, 19, struggled to hit his stride all tournament, registering just a single point in five games. He also took three penalties in the game against Finland, two of which came in the same play near the end of the game.

Despite those struggles, Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins made it clear that the team is eager to get him back.

“The Canadian fans are so passionate, they take losing hard, as the players do,” Desjardins told reporters. “Jake wasn’t why [Canada] lost the tourny.”

Virtanen’s Canucks teammates also showed support for the young forward:

Virtanen has one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Canucks this season.

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