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10-11-2013, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by thepuckmonster View Post
Unlike the other Canucks fans who've come in here to gloat, I wanted to maybe elaborate a little bit on AV's philosophy and system strategy as a hope to quell your worries.

Vigneault is a brilliant tactician who took zone start utilization and really brought it to the forefront of NHL strategizing in 2009-10. This is still an effective and highly successful theory, and not the issue you guys are having with him.

What's going on is this: Vigneault has been known in Vancouver has having one of the most difficult systems (especially for defensemen) in the league. Now, I know you've heard this umpteen million times, but no one really has explained why. The reason it takes players so long to learn is because it is heavily reliant on decision making.

Consider it like this: if the D-man is skating in, he makes his decision based on 1) what type of players are around him (are they forechecking forwards? defensemen?) 2) the handedness of the player (does he shoot right or left?) and 3) position of his teammates. For players who have become accustomed to playing a more one-dimensional and simple system (much like Torts'), this is incredibly difficult to adjust to. We would have to allow a grace period of 2-3 months for new players to adapt. But, once they do become comfortable playing it, it's incredibly effective. However, the issue is when you don't have high IQ (but high talent) defensemen in your group. This is ultimately what doomed Ballard in Vancouver: as a puck rushing D man, he relied on instinct over decision making.

Also: AV's system relies heavily on stretch passes and strong outlet passes from the defense. This really elevated Vancouver to elite status by having a good chunk of secondary scoring come from the D. It ended up being neutralized in the end because the West plays so much tighter than the East. This aspect will really benefit the Rangers once their passing is cleaned up. They will have to space to make these plays.

Lastly, the only retractor I really have to say about Alain is, in the end, he played his team like he wanted them to play, not how they were built to. Gillis took a lot of flack for not providing him the tools he needed, and rightly so, but it is a two way street. Sather must make moves to acquire more skill players for your forward group and another defenseman with higher offensive capabilities. Gillis did do that with Garrison (booming shot) and Booth (injury prone) but unfortunately two 1st round exits don't allot you the leash to get another pass.

In the end you guys will be fine. You may have to struggle this year, but as long as you retain Hank and acquire some more skill you will be a force to be reckoned with. Don't let the AV Biased Canucks fans tell you otherwise, there is always a risk to a higher reward and it will be worth it.
Thanks for the insight. And you are most certainly right that Sather has to acquire more skill players for AV's system to work effectively.

Unfortunately, if the defensemen are required to be good decision-makers with high hockey IQ, I am unsure if if they will able to adapt. Staal and McDonagh can probably hack it. Girardi and Del Zotto are doomed.

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