I'm not trying to turn this into a bash Gretzky thread, but I think it directly answers the original posters question and shows people outside of the phoenix fans some of the issues we've been complaining about and facing for years. It's just nice to see it posted up someone other than our board for once.
Tippitt a breath of fresh air is Phoenix….
I’m told players in Phoenix are calling the addition of Head Coach Dave Tippett “Extremely refreshing” from what the club was experiencing the last few seasons under former bench boss Wayne Gretzky.
The team now does video, they have a system in place, and Tippett has them playing some solid hockey.
There would be times the last few years when Gretzky would be a no-show for a pre-game skate. The team was pretty much run by assistant coaches due to the fact Gretzky’s time was in great demand. One can make the case Gretzky was more of a figurehead as opposed to a committed head coach."
Seriously, we never viewed videos before?
I remember a couple of year ago, when someone asked Gretzky about St. Louis in the pregame interview and he replied "I don't know, I haven't seen them". That incident got plenty of mention around here, so I'm not surpirsed at all that they didn't study film. Pathetic.
I find it hard to believe that Gretzky was not prepared as a coach. I do think that his inexperience and or coaching style was not always effective. I think that Gretxky's passion for the game and the way he can see a game make him strong at some things but maybe he just can't convey it into an effective coaching style.
I think Tippitts experience and Dave Kings experience on how to prepare as a team, including the coaches, will help this team. You may not be able to coach offense but you can damn well help by telling the players what areas they should be in. I mention that as Winnik was saying that King has helped him in that area. I have always said that you can't score from behind the net or on the corner. Gretzky's style had us cycling so much that no one was ever out in front. Personally if I'm the opposition I say let them tire themselves out in the corners, just keep them from getting out in front of the net. Already this year you see players in better scoring positions. It's just gonna take a little time before they start clicking.
Thumbs up to Tippett, King and the rest of the coaching staff...especially Burke as I give him complete credit for getting Bryz & Labarbra focused.
Tippett was forced by Les Jackson to play Eriksson. When a team is doing poorly Tippet elects to play veterans and players he feel he can trust more over young guys. It was aggravating when he was playing guys like Barch over our young guys. Neal started his first season on the third line with Modano. It was Morrow going down for the season that gave him a chance to shine more than anything really.
I am also not sure I would give Tippet credit for Morrow and Ribeiro. The former would have been great no matter the coach and the latter just needed to mature mentally (which is really more of an internal decision). Riberio in his breakout season made a decision that he wanted to become more of a two way player (his words) and play more physically. There was a stretch of games where he really ratcheted up the physicality before going down with a minor injury. After that he toned it down but he is certainly not soft. He also played on the PK when injuries got bad in the season after and did well.
I would give him credit for Niskanen though. He gave him lots of ice time and put a lot of trust in him his first season. He gave good amounts of ice time to Jokinen/Miettinen. Those guys didn't advance to being more than 2nd/3rd line tweeners but he certainly gave them a chance. Grossman has developed well. Robidas has certainly improved. He didn't give Fistric enough time in my opinion, especially late last season. Playing Sydor over Fistric was colossally stupid. I am not sure he would have put Benn on the first line this season. Tippet seemed to like putting guys like Sutherby up there. My guess is that Lehtinen would be up there now instead of playing the bottom 6/ PK specialist role he has had so far this season.
Tippet is a good coach. I think Phoenix is just happy to have a coach that knows what he is doing and has an actual system in place. If there was one thing Tip was good at it was getting the most out of very little. He always got a lot out of our players when we had injury problems. The team played great D for most of his tenure and I am not surprised Phoenix looks a lot better defensively.