The (AV) SysTEm
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10-25-2013, 06:25 AM
F A N
Join Date: Aug 2005
I'm not surprised at all about some of the comments you guys have expressed. Here are a few more thoughts.
Assistants: I've read some complaints about AV's choice of assistants. FWIW, Gillis ended up forcing AV to change his assistants and besides AV's associate coach Rick Bowness, it was mostly Gillis handpicking assistants for AV (supposedly with AV's approval of course).
PP: AV was never in charge of the PP. During the Cup run, the Canucks had the best PP in the league and credit goes to Newell Brown, a Gillis hire.
Line Juggling: AV was notorious for line juggling, but in reality he constantly goes back to his original lines. Taylor Pyatt on the first line? He did that on the Canucks. He also had 4th liners Dale Weise and Maxim Lapierre take shifts on the first line in the past as well. Oh and he likes having big bodies in front of the net. One big complaint about AV is that he doesn't stick with lines that work. Zach Kassian started last season with 5 goals in 7 games playing with the Sedins and it didn't take long before he made his way to the 4th line with some "shifts" with the Sedins. So don't scratch your head too much when you see a guy like Pyatt or another 4th line guy take shifts on the first line.
Line Matching: AV really micromanages at times. He will stick with a matchup he wants even if something else proves more effective. Like most coaches, AV is stubborn in some ways and this is one of them.
Timeouts: AV has been criticized for not calling timeouts. I'm indifferent.
Defensemen: AV is not exactly a fan of puck-rushing defenseman, especially if they are prone to mistakes. He prefers guys who makes good first passes. When things weren't going well, the Canucks were often pinned in their own zone because the Canucks lacked defensemen who were capable of taking the puck up ice after stealing a puck in the team's own zone.
Forwards: AV likes defensively-responsible players first and foremost and isn't a fan of east-west players. Even when the team needs offense he'll play a defensively-responsible north=south guy over a offensively-talented forward who is a bit of a defensive liability.
Complexity of AV's system: I didn't really hear this from Canucks fans when he was here, not sure why Rangers fans think this. AV likes to make the use of set plays but I don't think the concepts are hard to grasps. Defensemen are expected to make a good break-out pass rather than the off-the-glass variety, centers are expected to play deep in their own zone, and wingers are positioned just outside the blue-line awaiting for the breakout pass. In most cases, the forwards know where they need to be and the defensemen know where the forwards will be when the defensemen manage to get a hold of the puck in their own zone. It's not exactly like Torts' get the puck out as soon as possible system, but I don't think there's some sort of complex calculations that defensemen have to make before they decide on what to do with the puck, at least I haven't heard any Canucks defensemen mention it.
Motivation: I don't believe AV is a good motivator. When he first arrived in Vancouver he benefitted from having guys he coached in the AHL on the team, and he quickly made that group part of the leadership group. Later on he was able to hand the room over to the Sedins who quite frankly are underrated leaders. The Sedins are blocking shots under Torts. When you have leaders who are self-motivating, you really don't need to do much. But part of the problem for the Canucks the past couple of years is that during the regular season everybody was waiting for the team to flip the switch come playoff time. It never happened. Under AV there was this never get too high never get too low attitude where there's never anything to worry. It worked great in the regular season for the most part as the team was a talented team with established veterans who knew how to pace themselves and win. But it takes more in the playoffs and the Canucks' first round exits were telling.
Outcoached: There are some Canucks fans who hold the opinion that AV is constantly outcoached in the playoffs. There's certainly a strong argument that AV doesn't prepare his team well for the playoffs. Two seasons ago, Daniel Sedin ended the regular season sitting out with a concussion. Yet, AV didn't prepare the team to start the playoffs without Sedin.
Conclusion: I am honestly surprised that the Rangers are off to such a start. I do think AV is a good coach who has earned the respect of players. I'm confident that AV will find a way to win, but I suspect he will win with defense rather than offense.
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