That's what it almost always comes back to, doesn't it? And speaking of coaching, there are some pretty scary things that I have noticed. Granted, I concede that it is still EARLY in the season, and things COULD change. However, Sather seems about as open to change as the Inquisition was to the idea that the Earth is round.
Here are some problems that I think are directly attributable to coaching:
1. The PP. Special teams is ALL about coaching. What is maddening here is that Sather seemingly has finaly got it during the preseason. For 6 years, this team could not score on a PP if they were playing against any combination of 4 of us from this board. No one in front of the net. Overpassing. No one willing to go to a corner to retreive a loose puck. Sather seemingly figured this out and made changes during preseason. Enter the regular season. NO ONE in front of the net. NO ONE winning loose puck battles. EVERY ONE overpassing on the perimeter. What happened to Holik staying in front of the net? Why was it that what obviously worked during preseason, has been eschewed in favor of perimeter prancing? Against Carolina, all the playes just stood on the perimeter passing back and forth to each other. IT was almost comical. Sam and JD made the wrong call as it was going on. They confused the booing of the PP as fans being impatient wanting shots. What they forgot to mention was that while the fans are tired of nothinb but passing, we are also knowledgable enough to know that the first thing one can do to improve a horrific PP is to simply put someone in front of the net. Why is that Sather can't seem to grasp that concept?
Another PP problem is getting the puck in deep. Kovalev is a great stickhandle. But is it really necessary to dish a pass off on the blueline instead of just getting the puck deep? Half of those dishes wind up as a turnover and an odd-man rush going the other way. And in the rare instances that they do get the puck deep, they NEVER seem to retreive it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you usually retreive a loose puck on a PP by outnumbering the defenders? The Ragners seem to have a hard time grasping the concept that you can retreive very few pucks if you are stationed on the perimenter instead of along the boards and are unwilling to go into a corner to get it. Seriously, does anyone remember ANY loose puck that was retreived by the Lindros or Nedved line?
2. Adjustments. Here, I am completely flagergasted. Sather has shown a frightening either inability to or flat-out unwillingness to make in-game changes. Isn't it pretty obvious that Carter is not working out w/ Lindros? Isn't it pretty obvious by now that Rosie is not working out there either? Heck, can anyone make a solid argument as to why Barnaby or even Simon should not even be given a shot to be Eric's linemate? That line needs some one to get a puck from a corner. Is there a coincidence that the Messier line looks to be pretty good so far? Why? Becuase both Matty and Simon go to the corners to retreive loose pucks. What's more, is that they BOTH go for a loose puck and thuse are not battling 1 on 3 while everyone else is prancing around the perimeter. That line plays a simple game. Messier gets the puck deep and MAtty & Chris go for the puck. Instead of benching Simon the other day so that Kovie could be double shifted, how about actually playing him with Lindros and resting Rosie or reassigning Carter to another line?
Is there a coincidence as to why the Holik line looked so good the other night? It's because that entire line just dumped the puck and then sent several players to get it. Both the Lindros and Nedved line either overpass into a turnover, or stickhandle into a turnonver, or get the puck deep but then stand between the hasmarks as if they expect the puck to magically rebound by itself from the corner onto their stick.
3. Defense. Has there been a more pathetic group? Can the AMRD complete just one pass from behind their own blueline? How about they stop passing the puck backwards? How about Poti looking for a simple wrist shot instead of blindly hurling the puck (as he did against Carolina) and loosing it or winding up and loosing it? One thing that Poti can learn from de Vries is that Greg, when he wants to get the puck on goal, just makes a simple, quick wrist shot to get the puck in. Poti spend time winding up or blindly passing. How diffucult is it to get through to your defense to make simple wristers and quick simple outlet passes?
4. Accountability. After threatening changes, how can one justify either Malacough or Krispy dressing next game? I tought that they were simply dreadfull against Carolina? How can one justify Rosie still being in the lineup? Hlavac? Has he done anything? What punishment do Poti and Kovalev get for being turnover machines?
5. Undisclined play. What is it that makes this team take the most moronic of penalties? They are not even retaliation penalties. "Too many men on the ice" is 100% coaching. After taking 2 in the previous 2 games, how could Poti nearly take another one by staying on the ice too long? Where is ACCOUNTABILITY?
6. Match-ups. Why the eff' is Holik on this team? Wasn't he here to go against the other teams top line? If Sather wanted a 4th line center, there were cheaper alternatives. I like the fact that Messier's time SEEMED manageable the other night. But why on Earth did he get more ice time than both Holik & Lindros in the 3rd? Holik should be on the ice EVERY time the other teams top line is. And let's face it, Holik's line looked the best given the amount of ice time they got the other night. Thaks to the fact that both Barnaby and Simon are only capable of playing a simple game and not overpassing, Messier's line looked pretty good too. But NO WAY should Mess be getting more ice time than Holik in the 3rd period.
Like I said, I know that it istill early. However, what I see going on behind the bench is positively frightening.
I think to a large degree the man "behind" the scene and doing much of the "coaching" is tom renney.
Its renney's system they are attempting to utilize.
Frankly the offense stinks so far (it certainly isn't from a lack of skill), but the goals against is very nice so far at the garden. Dunham has played extremely well.
Give it about 20 games... then see where the team sits.
Yeah, we always come back to coaching, and there's no doubt is has been a problem. However, getting a decent head coach in here is the beginning, not the end, of a solution. Despite what a lot of people seem to think, this isn't that great a team we have here. Sure, there are some names and some talent, but it lacks depth, character and balance. Too many show horses, not enough work horses.
We need to give them some time to get it together, but if this team misses again, it's time to clean house, hold a fire sale, and start from scratch.
I think the coaching is the biggest issue with this team. Tom Renney is the one who is teaching the team system; and it will take time to adjust to this. But Sather is the one who makes the final decision on everything. He decides what the lines will be and when the lines play. He is also the one who should motivate the team and discipline them when they are not performing. Speaking of discipline, why hasn't there been any in the past several years?
However, getting a decent head coach in here is the beginning, not the end, of a solution. Despite what a lot of people seem to think, this isn't that great a team we have here.
That's not the point, Laches. Yes, there are a lot of show horses, and not enough work horses. However, there ARE a good amount of things that the team can do to make itself better. The things are fairly simple as I have listed above. Yet, Jackass steadfastly refuses to either see the issues or do anything that would deviate from his straight-forward thinking. It does not take a brain surgeon to see that the quickes, most simple way to help a dreadfull PP is to simply park someone w/ size (or actually anyone) in front of the net. Yet Jackass refuses to do that. That's coaching and something that this team CAN do to make itself better.
Accountability. That is another aspect that is in full control of the team. Why do you think that these fatcats just prace and poke check and are not capable of even making a simple outlet pass? Becuase there is not accountability factor. There is just no reason for the ADRD to be on the ice tonight. A combination of Purinton & Jakopin simply CANNOT be any worse than the M&M girls. Wouldn't benching those 2 send a message? How about Rosie? Why is it that he cannot sit on the bench while Lundmark skates w/ Lindros and Keefe skates on the 4th line? Would that really produce any less than what has currently been going on?
Simple dumping of the puck and retreiveing it is another thing that is wholely under control of this team and management. How many times have we seen a puck-carrier not being able to get the puck deep? And how many times have we seen the puck FINALLY get deep, but no one there to retreive it? Mandating that the puck be dumped in instead of swishing and dishing it at the blue line would eliminate some of the turnovers. Then having more than one person actually work at getting the puck instead of only sending in one person to take on several sets of defenders and forwards. Seems to me that it's just another facet that the team CAN control but fails to do so.
I'm starting to wonder how well Sather understands Renney's system. If the instruction that comes from the bench during games is at odds with the instruction given in practice, then it seems likely that the result would be the disorganization we've seen.
I'm having a hard time being as patient as some because, while I'm told the game strategy is totally different, it sure looks the same to me. There either isn't a new strategy, or no one on the ice even attempts to follow it, or the coaching staff simply can't convey what they want, or don't know what they want, or whatever. This team isn't going to magically "get it" overnight, that much is for sure. That's a pretty alarming statement when you consider that we're tied for last in the league with a team that we couldn't beat on Saturday.