As the Canucks limp towards the finish line, interest in the club wanes. With the Canucks now 12 points back of a playoff spot, Vancouverites have grown so tired of the on-ice product they’ve turned to reigniting the old stats vs. mainstream media debate that should have been settled years ago.
In other words, it’s been a slow news week. There just hasn’t been much to talk about. So, let’s think outside the box. What would you do to make the last few games of the season more exciting?
Last week I asked: Does Desjardins deserve another season in Vancouver? If not, who would you like to see as a replacement?
I am not sure which coach would be available end of the season. Obviously you would like to have a coach with experience at the NHL level and a track record for developing talent, and can teach offence to some degree. Maybe Crawford? I honestly haven’t looked at his track record on development side of things, but seemed to do a good job with Mathews and tried to hone his coaching in Europe, so always looking to learn and grow.
WD is so horrible as a coach for this team, and I think his style is not suited to the NHL game:
a) Team has one of the worst goals for/goals against in the league, ultimately this is on the coach
b) Pop-gun power play
c) Horrid penalty kill
d) Slow and predictable offence for a large part, not entertaining style
e) Mismanagement or inability to manage young talent (hard for him to communicate clearly with young talent)
f) can’t appropriately adjust in game
I think the WD experiment has run its course. I heard someone on radio the other day say that if he’d come in with this roster at the outset it would have made more sense, full of younger players and a team in transition. I don’t know if I buy that. I’ve been more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt — not playing Goldobin enough that first game made sense given the situation (killing power plays the last half of the game, lack of practices with the Canucks) — but overall as has been well documented, WD doesn’t seem capable of making in-game adjustments and his unwillingness to take the opportunities afforded by injuries to play younger players makes no sense to me. I give him absolute credit for bringing Horvat, Hutton, Stetcher, Granlund, and Baertschi closer to their potential. But he’s mismanaged Markstrom for no good reason and his insistence on playing Megna, Biega, Chaput and a few others makes little sense. If you already have Tanev and Edler in the lineup you don’t need an AHL veteran for your sixth D. You may as well try out Larsen to see if he’s anything or Pedan/Subban. Why not play a Grenier or Labate (or even an Archibald) over a Megna/Chaput? I realize it’s not the end of the world and most coaches make these kinds of mystifying decisions but if we are looking for a teaching coach and are committed to being a developmental team the next 1-2 years (I have a hard time imagining the fanbase would stomach much more than that), then we need someone who is ok with doing so. I actually thought WD might be the guy given that he’s not the youngest coach in the league and wasn’t when he joined. But if anything he’s looked worse every year in this job. As for replacements I am not convinced that Travis Green is the guy. How many Utica Comets have graduated to us? Gaunce? Most of the others were developed here. And the top minute guys down there are not the prospects. I’d suggest Benoit Groulx. Great coach for the Olympiques (won several championships or went to finals), was ok his first year in the AHL, having a good year this year as coach of the Crunch, real reputation for working with young players.
I think we have a major case of the grass is always greener on the other side here. Willie has his flaws and he has his less than ideal favourites (i.e. Megan) but what coach doesn’t? The dude has won at every level and clearly has an excellent rapport with the players…coaching today is 50% human/personality resource management and 50% systems (oversimplification there but it isn’t that far off from the truth).
Main thing for me is that (for the most part) the players who deserve to play, are playing. Guys like Horvat, Stech, Tryamkin, Hutton, etc. have all taken big steps under Willie. The worst thing the Canucks could do is upset the stable environment they have established for the young guys. I would like to see the Canucks agree to a one year extension and see what Willie can do with a younger, quicker forward group next year.
Instead of getting rid of him, they should think strategically and focus on improving key skills (i.e. like they did with face-offs by hiring Manny). I am probably the only one on this board but I think they should keep Willie (especially considering where the team is on it trajectory – young and developing – if in two years they are failing to take the next step, then by all means get a new coach).
I agree with most of the points brought up here on why we need a better coach, Im 100% behind finding a better coach long term, but I personally believe Willie deserves another year based on the fact the Canucks arent a good team anymore, what type of coaching talent will we attract? Probably just another coach with just as many flaws. His track record with developing kids isnt half bad, maybe its luck, but I think Willie does things that teaches these kids to play a full 200ft game. He makes them accountable, I think long term hes a horrible coach I dont think he has the tools in his toolbox to coach a contender to the cup. BUT if he can imprint on our top prospects in the next 1-2 years about defensive responsibility I think he will have done his job. Then we can get a more skilled coach to maybe take this rebuilding team to the next step. In saying all that Im hoping he doesnt stifle the development of young offensely gifted forwards with his defense first approach.