Thread: The (AV) SysTEm
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10-25-2013, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by F A N View Post
Canucks fans here. I've been following some of the threads here and can't help but offer my opinion especially reading about what apparently some Canucks fans have said. I haven't watched the Rangers enough this season to know what AV is doing here, but I think when analyzing AV it's important to start with what he did in Montreal and when he first arrived in Vancouver before Gillis became GM in addition to the success he had with the Canucks.

Before Gillis arrived, AV was known as a pure defensive coach. There were articles written about how AV kills offense. With the Canucks, I would classify AV's system as more of a trapping/counterattack system. Back when Therrien was having success with the Penguins, AV constantly denied that he employed the trap and defended his system saying it's no different from what the Penguins were playing under Therrien. According to AV, the difference was that the Canucks lacked the offensive the Penguins had. It's the classic Jacques Lemaire system does not stagnate the offense argument (Gaborik did score 42 goals under Lemaire). There's a strong argument that AV's defensive system got the most out of a team lacking talent.

When Mike Gillis became the Canucks GM, Gillis wanted his team to play uptempo hockey and AV actually had to convince Gillis he was capable of coaching that style. While AV certainly proved himself capable of coaching an offensive team, I still think he's a defensive coach at heart. I'm not sure if you guys have noticed it yet, but I think AV coached teams have a tendency to sit back, especially on a lead. Sure, the defense are encouraged to jump into the attack, but AV's system isn't a run-and-gun system. There is a tendency to fall back into trap-like system and wait for the counterattack.
Good posts. A few things:

1. If a coach is offensiveminded or defensiveminded is purely a question of how much offense a coach wants to play at the cost of defense. Right?

In light of the above, how you play defense is not really part of the equation (!). IE, the same coach can play very offensive hockey if he is behind the bench of Chicago (that plays defense like AV) or have a team that is defending alot and plays a low scoring hockey if he is behind the bench in say PHX.

We saw that if nothing else with Renney in NY, he and Maloney hand picked a team for him and that team scored a ton of goals, when it had a good first line and some depth. Then Nyls and JJ were replaced with Gomez and Shanny and Drury, and it became very defensive minded. The same style that was almost dominating for stretches with the right players became really defensive with less top end ability.

In the end, in the game today, you need to be good defensively to play offensive hockey, AND vice versa.

AV got his team turning the back to their own net and backing down more, some call it trapping. But the real trapping teams, NJD of the 90's, they dumped the puck in and backed down. That is hardly what we are doing. We are doing the exact same thing as Chicago regulary are doing. When you loose pressure of the puck, you "trap". Torts has a diffrent philosopy here, more in line with Babcocks style in Detroit (and here you really see how separated these areas are from one another, because you can't find two fundamentally more diffrent coaches overall that Torts and Babcock), where you don't turn your back against your own end and instead skate with the pace of the transition game to have speed under your skates all the way.

2. Re your comment on Gabby, certain types of players are definitely affected diffrently by certain styles of play. Gabby is an excellent counter attack player, he will do well on a team that plays alot of defense because it gives him alot of opertunitites to counter attack, its as simple as that.

Torts had very little use for centers that could carry the puck in NY, under Renney they were essential. Torts kind of "raised" many of our D's in NY, and while he de facto don't stiffle creative D's (see Dan Boyle), the D's that he do raise becomes extremely N-S, get the puck up ice ASAP, orientated.

Like I am sure you know, AV wants his D's to move the puck up ice and start the attack from their own end and up instead of getting the puck below the hashmarks before the team try to get it to the net.

If you had seen more NY hockey, you would have seen how ridiculously unsecure our D's have been in these areas so far this season. They all got a distinct deer-in-headlight look in these situations. There was a quoet about a week ago how AV had talked about the importance of making passes "tape to tape" in the transition game, lol that says it all. And the team as a whole just becomes very unsecure as a result of it. Sometimes a unsecure D makes a short pass in his own end to keep the puck within the team, then while loosing some time collecting passes etc, we move it up ice and go up against a collected D. Or we are behind 2-0 and the same D all of a sudden starts hitting the ice playing Torts type of hockey, just banging the puck up the boards, while the forwards are going deep to collect passes etc.

Its a tremendous mess.

My point is just, whether AV is a defensive or offensive minded coach, has little impact as long as we can't execute his intentions. When we can't do that, we will not score anything and give up alot. Then one can ask themselves if AV isn't at fault for trying to play a somewhat creative (hey its not DRW II) transition game with the Ds he have, shouldn't he adjust to the team? I do not agree with that. Looking around the league, all the better teams right now are really poised with the puck. This is not an issue of talent on the blueline, to a big extent its a team drilling issue. Colin White moved the puck quite well for NJD for a long time, not end to end, but those simple passes where you read of the forecheckers and makes sure to deliver a pass tape to tape to the one player that manage to get open. McD is maybe the worst offender in NY, nobody can convince me that he has less talent that Colin White. So in the big picture, I think AV is doing the same thing as any of the like top 15 coaches in the league would do if they got the job, ensure that we started to work on getting some kind of transition game here in NY. That is the starting point.

Last edited by Ola: 10-25-2013 at 06:50 AM.
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