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04-25-2009, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Vagrant View Post
Laviolette is the very definition of a player's coach. He has the same reputation at every stop. He came in the first season and the players were refreshed by his lack of emphasis on defensive structure and responded by scoring a ton of goals. However, once teams figured out our aggressive two man forechecking system it created a lot of odd man chances and breakaways. Laviolette's refusal to change his system is what ultimately lead to his demise in Carolina. To an extent, he caught lightning in a bottle in 05-06 while teams adjusted to the new style. With equal parts luck and foresight, Carolina had created a team that could skate with any team in the league in terms of pure speed and with the focus on obstruction they drew a lot of penalties and scored a lot of goals that way. As the league has settled back down, obstruction has once again found its place in the game and the system suffered as a result.

The Good about Laviolette:

- Players that are hard to motivate are usually at their best under a coach like this because all players love to play offense. Yashin even bought into his system in New York for a while there. Kovalev would likely respond very well to a hire like this.

- The focus on offensive hockey makes game exciting to watch even if the results aren't always favorable. You're not going to see many 2-1 games in his system.

- Laviolette has a history of getting quite a bit of production from his bottom six as a result of eliminating the "checking line", and trying to roll four lines that all have the intention of scoring points. Jason Blake was a product of Laviolette's faith in his grinders. If Laviolette sees a player with offensive instincts that aren't being utilized, he can bring production out of them by changing their role and their approach to the game.

- With speed being at a premium, the system that Laviolette employs is very easy for mobile defensemen to adjust to. This can be a positive as well as a negative, but it makes the defense more finesse based than a grinding physical force. Skating defensemen are requisite for running his system and they also must have a strong first pass because maintaining speed through the neutral zone will make or break his clubs.

- He is very brief with the media. He will not call anyone out in public or embarrass his players. In fact, he's so cliche driven and boring that even the Montreal media would probably get bored with him. He has very little sense of humor and isn't very personable. He will never make himself the story by saying something out of the way about his team or an opposing team. He is strictly opposed to creating drama and is a huge advocate of team building activities even in the offseason. In other words, he's so squeaky clean that it would be hard for Montreal to find fault with him aside from his performance.

Bad things about Laviolette:

- He isn't a great coach for young talent because he's not a great teacher of fundamentals. He knows what he wants from his players, but he has trouble getting that across. With his lack of defined roles, many young players from Carolina were quoted as saying they had no idea what Laviolette wanted from them. If he wanted them to grind, if he wanted them to be scorers, if he wanted them to defend.... most had no clue. The best players under Laviolette were the veterans by far.

- The system is very demanding. Unlike systems that are more passive and are based on economy of movement, Laviolette works a system that is based on 100% hustle, aggressive forechecking, and opportunistic offense. Laviolette also doesn't like to roll 4 lines, so that means the minutes are more top heavy for the Top 9 and injuries are frequent. Muscle fatigue injuries like pulled muscles and just being overworked weren't uncommon. Players would sometimes wilt in the second half of the season after being leaned upon too heavy in the first half.

- Goaltending is, by far, the most demanding position in a Laviolette coached system. As a result of all this aggressive pinching around the ice, the goaltender will have to face no shortage of very strong scoring chances against. It is no coincidence that since Maurice took over the Hurricanes that Cam Ward has been posting Vezina worthy numbers. Goalie stats take a beating and you'll need to have a goaltender that only cares about winning much like Grant Fuhr behind those Oiler dynasty teams that ran the same kind of run and gun operation. It's not a question of will the goaltender be hung out to dry, it's just a question of how many times and how many he stops.

- Slower and more physical players become obsolete under Laviolette. He does not believe in having a spot reserved on the roster for a goon. Since his system is predicated on having strong foot speed and a lot of motor, these players will find themselves on the wrong end of the icetime battle. Even when your team is getting beaten around, the system will not change. Laviolette feels the response to borderline play by the opposition is making them pay on the scoreboard. At times that is consolation enough, but if you like the eye for an eye stuff then Laviolette is not your man.

Oh well, sorry for going off the deep end but I just saw this thread and figured i'd throw my hat in on my observations about Laviolette and why he would be good or bad for the Habs.
Great post ! Learned more about him from your post than anywhere else, thanks for taking the time.

I, for one, think he might be the right guy at the right time for this team.

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