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AV Strikes Back: The Neutral Zone Wars Part II

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Old
09-14-2009, 10:46 AM
  #1
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AV Strikes Back: The Neutral Zone Wars Part II

In the Vancouver Sun today, Vigneault takes issue that his team and players are too offensively stifled and too dull.
Quote:
But the one thing that has bothered Vigneault since he replaced Marc Crawford in 2006 is the often parroted criticism his team is dull and artless.

Never mind that Vigneault's winning percentage coaching the Canucks (.596) blows both Crawford's (.554) and Pat Quinn's (.553) out of the pond. Or that his two second-round playoff appearances in three seasons is one better than Crawford, Mike Keenan, Tom Renney and Rick Ley managed -- combined -- over the previous 10 years.

Vigneault's teams were dull. He stifled offensive players, dumbed down the game and, gasp, often neutral-zone-trapped opponents. The latter, at least, is true and put Vigneault in the company of 29 other coaches.
How does French Coach defend himself?

"I'm not sensitive, but I know to some extent there is that perception out there. I would like to know which player has left this team since I've been here who has gone somewhere else and become an offensive player. Or has had as many points as he had with me. There is not one. And do the opposite; do the number of players who since they've been playing with me, have had their career years offensively.

All I know is, as coach, what you do is try to win. And depending on the personnel you have available, some nights you have to adjust. Depending on the schedule, some nights you have to adjust. At the end of the day, what you're trying to do is maximize the players you have in front of you.

As a coach, you have to evaluate what you have and then put in the system that's going to most maximize potential. With what we feel is a better corps of defence at moving the puck, we're definitely going to utilize that.

Once you have a little bit more skill and can do a little more things, most of the time instead of chasing the puck trying to get it back, you have it under control.

But there's one thing that doesn't change: The teams that are successful, the teams that win, work as hard at both ends of the rink. When I talked to Samuelsson the first time I met him -- obviously you want to pick the guy's brain who has been on a team that has won a Cup and went to a finals -- the first thing he told me is [Detroit and Team Canada coach Mike] Babcock wants his players to work as hard at both ends. Well, surprise, so does Vigneault."


And his history proves that out. When he had a healthy team in Montreal and the horses to do so he played a more wide-open style and the Habs finished 5th in Goals For. When the team hit a two year patch of injuries that IIRC were the worst in NHL history, he cobbled together what was basically an AHL team and kept it competitive - although he missed the play-offs barely he was still a finalist for the Coach of the Year. In those years the Habs played disciplined and solid defence.

A good coach makes do with what he is given and adjusts season to season and even game to game. And Vigneault is a very good coach.

The old saying is coaches are hired to be fired but with his accomplishments Vigneault is about to be extended for a longer tour of duty with the Canucks. As it now stands he is the sixth longest serving coach with one team in the NHL.

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Old
09-14-2009, 10:58 AM
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Alan Jackson
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Just a nitpick, but comparing the winning percentages of Pat Quinn and Alain Vigneault is an absurd thing to do.

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09-14-2009, 11:05 AM
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Why?

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09-14-2009, 11:06 AM
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What has been troubling is the team's tendency to go on bad runs under his watch. The bad stretch to end the 07/08 season cost them the playoffs. The stretch last January was the worst in team history, and that's really saying something.

Are these simply anomalies, or do they say that he has a hard time adjusting his strategy on the fly to deal with the team's current conditions? The way the team was outplayed by Chicago would also be an indication of this.

Until Vigneault can prove that he can motivate and position his team to come out ahead in these "must-win" games, I'll have questions about his leadership. I think we all know that he can build a strategy for the team and execute on it, but when things start going off the rails he seems to have little to fall back on.

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09-14-2009, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by banana phone View Post
Why?
Shootouts

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09-14-2009, 11:10 AM
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Why?
In an era where all but two or three teams will finish ".500", in an era where you lose in overtime and get a "tie", or when you win a gimmick and get a "win", any coach will have an inflated record compared to an era where wins were wins, losses were losses and ties were ties.

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09-14-2009, 11:12 AM
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This team takes too many penalties...bad penalties. Fix that and AV is golden with me.

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09-14-2009, 11:14 AM
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Alan Jackson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernie View Post

Until Vigneault can prove that he can motivate and position his team to come out ahead in these "must-win" games, I'll have questions about his leadership. I think we all know that he can build a strategy for the team and execute on it, but when things start going off the rails he seems to have little to fall back on.
I agree. The panic threshold amongst the Canucks was extremely low during that Chicago series. When things start to unravel, this particular coach seems to be unable or unwilling to do anything to stem the tide.

Again, Vigneault has proven he's an extremely capable coach, especially when his goaltender plays out of his mind - but I still question whether or not he's the coach that will lead the team to a championship. I hope that he is.

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09-14-2009, 11:22 AM
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Good on AV. He's a very good coach with a very good system.

Gallagher really doesn't have a clue when he says the Canucks play a defensive style. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

He plays smart hockey. That doesn't necessarily mean the trap. It means when one-on-two and your linemates are making a change, you get the puck deep etc.

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09-14-2009, 11:34 AM
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Winning % for a coach is misleading as it depends on what you have to work with. AV is a good coach, Pat Quinn is better. You watch Edmonton rise this year.

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09-14-2009, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernie View Post
What has been troubling is the team's tendency to go on bad runs under his watch. The bad stretch to end the 07/08 season cost them the playoffs. The stretch last January was the worst in team history, and that's really saying something.

Are these simply anomalies, or do they say that he has a hard time adjusting his strategy on the fly to deal with the team's current conditions? The way the team was outplayed by Chicago would also be an indication of this.

Until Vigneault can prove that he can motivate and position his team to come out ahead in these "must-win" games, I'll have questions about his leadership. I think we all know that he can build a strategy for the team and execute on it, but when things start going off the rails he seems to have little to fall back on.
Fortunately under Vigneault the Canucks have not gone on a really extended bad run - like 15 consecutive losing seasons.

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09-14-2009, 11:58 AM
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Did Vigneault refer to himself in the third person?

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09-14-2009, 12:12 PM
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Did Vigneault refer to himself in the third person?
Wetcoaster believes that he did so.

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09-14-2009, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gra9 View Post
Did Vigneault refer to himself in the third person?
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Wetcoaster believes that he did so.
Well played.

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09-14-2009, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Outside99 View Post
Winning % for a coach is misleading as it depends on what you have to work with. AV is a good coach, Pat Quinn is better. You watch Edmonton rise this year.
I disagree. Quinn has this great reputation of being this all star coach because he coached the Jr. Team.

There's a reason they also hired Renney. So that he doesnt seem overwhelmed.

AV never gets enough credit.

Past canuck coaches always had forwards (either in their prime or star players) that were much better offensively than Vigneault.

The Canucks' greatest strength since he's come in has always been Luongo and you have to play to that strength.

Give him Bure or Naslund (in his 3yrs of being a good player) and his team would be alot more offensive as well.

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09-14-2009, 12:36 PM
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I like Pat Quinn but I think at this stage of the game, he's much better suited to coach these tournaments. His stature allows him to come in, command attention, and implement a gameplan. That sort of thing wears off pretty quick in the NHL and there's a reason he has a legitimate NHL head coach as his "assistant."

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09-14-2009, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outside99 View Post
Winning % for a coach is misleading as it depends on what you have to work with. AV is a good coach, Pat Quinn is better. You watch Edmonton rise this year.
Quinn was not a better coach while with the Canucks. Quinn is very loyal to his players which is good that the players know they are allowed to play their game, but Quinn carried that to a fault in that he kept players past when they should have been replaced and he had a hard time inserting young players and rookies into a spot of importance on the roster.

Roger Nielson was the inventive coach that could react quickly to changes.

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09-14-2009, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Hi-wayman View Post
Quinn was not a better coach while with the Canucks. Quinn is very loyal to his players which is good that the players know they are allowed to play their game, but Quinn carried that to a fault in that he kept players past when they should have been replaced and he had a hard time inserting young players and rookies into a spot of importance on the roster.

Roger Nielson was the inventive coach that could react quickly to changes.
Unfortunately Roger and his team would just give up and surrender to the opposing team when things were going bad.




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09-14-2009, 01:04 PM
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Alan Jackson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-wayman View Post
Quinn was not a better coach while with the Canucks. Quinn is very loyal to his players which is good that the players know they are allowed to play their game, but Quinn carried that to a fault in that he kept players past when they should have been replaced and he had a hard time inserting young players and rookies into a spot of importance on the roster.

Roger Nielson was the inventive coach that could react quickly to changes.
That would be an issue with Quinn the GM, and not Quinn the coach. As far as the myth goes that Quinn can't coach young players - it's an absurd notion. I have no idea how that started, other than somebody in the media suggested it and it became gospel.

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09-14-2009, 01:05 PM
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You're still a ****** coach Viggie.

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Old
09-14-2009, 01:14 PM
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I don't personally like what AV does changing his system. I suspect it sends a message that he's not confident in the team's abilities to elevate their game. When he goes in a defensive shell in the game especially when the team is up only by 1, it sends a "try not to lose" message instead of instilling a winning attitude.

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09-14-2009, 01:18 PM
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I don't personally like what AV does changing his system. I suspect it sends a message that he's not confident in the team's abilities to elevate their game. When he goes in a defensive shell in the game especially when the team is up only by 1, it sends a "try not to lose" message instead of instilling a winning attitude.
Every good coach adjusts his system based on the opponent and the particular game situation.

That is why I consider Vigneault one of the better "bench" coaches.

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09-14-2009, 01:25 PM
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Alan Jackson
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Every good coach adjusts his system based on the opponent and the particular game situation.

That is why I consider Vigneault one of the better "bench" coaches.
Yeah, that worked great against Chicago. Six games, six styles, and an elimination at the hands of a young team that was ripe for the picking.

Is Vigneault is one of the better "bench" coaches in the NHL? He's certainly in the top 30.

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09-14-2009, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Every good coach adjusts his system based on the opponent and the particular game situation.

That is why I consider Vigneault one of the better "bench" coaches.
Yeah, if you look at the NHL numbers for the past five seasons, while playing with the lead teams are generally outshot and teams trailing generally outshoot the other team. For example, the SF/SA ratio of a team with a one goal lead is ~0.87 and for a team with a one goal deficit ~1.15.

I don't know if it's necessarily the most effective strategy, but it's the one that most NHL coaches choose. For example, Detroit and San Jose didn't have those huge swings in being outshot even when they had the lead, and they ended up being two of the three best teams in the league, so it's possible it is a useful strategy to keep your foot on the gas.

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09-14-2009, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan Jackson View Post
Yeah, that worked great against Chicago. Six games, six styles, and an elimination at the hands of a young team that was ripe for the picking.

Is Vigneault is one of the better "bench" coaches in the NHL? He's certainly in the top 30.
I prefer to base my opinion on Vigneault's body of work as an NHL head coach rather than one game or several games in a series.

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