5 quotes that stood out from Travis Green’s introductory press conference

As introductory press conferences go, Wednesday’s unveiling of Travis Green as the 19th head coach in the history of the Vancouver Canucks was unremarkable.

Along with the requisite photo opportunities with President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden and General Manager Jim Benning, Green skillfully stickhandled his way through close to 40 minutes of questions laying out his plans to take the 29th place team he has inherited and make the Canucks competitive again. A hockey lifer with time spent in large media markets like Toronto and Boston, the 46-year-old Castlegar native looked comfortable in front of a throng of cameras as he discussed his journey from player to coach and how he plans to use his years of experience behind the bench in the Western Hockey League and American Hockey League to his advantage as he makes the leap to his first coaching job in the National Hockey League.

What follows are five quotes from Travis Green’s press conference at Rogers Arena that stood out for various reasons:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • When it was pointed out that he was inheriting a team that finished 29th in the overall NHL standings as well as 29th in both overall offence and power play efficiency, Green did not try to duck the issue or take the discussion in a different direction. He knows he has his work cut out for him particularly when it comes to generating more offence and producing on the power play.

“You’re talking about numbers that you can’t hide from. I know we have to create more offence. Our special teams have to get better. I think there is a way you can create offence nowadays with the way the game is played, but that’s definitely an area that we’re going to have to improve. We’re going to have to find a way to score more goals. Finding goal scorers is different than creating offence for me. We have some young guys coming up that I think can put the puck in the net, but we’re going to have to find a way to create more offence.”

  • When Green was asked how he plans to continue the integration of youth into the line-up and if he had a philosophy for dealing with young players at the NHL level.

“We need to get younger. It’s no secret. We need to infuse some young players into the line-up. There is a long list of young guys that are going to try to make spots on the team. And that’s really what you want. You want young players to be on your team, but you want those young players to be the players they should be though at the end of the day when it time to win championships. And I think how you develop them and create those players is vital. And it’s not the same for every player. You can’t say Player A is treated the same as Player B with two young players. Some guys are ready for it, some guys need to go up and down. Some guys need to stay down. It’s not a question and it’s not a simple answer. It’s different for every player.”

  • Green was asked if he had sought advice from other coaches or if he could learn anything from the struggles of Dallas Eakins and Scott Arniel who both made the jump from the AHL to the NHL with very little success.

“I’m a big believer in preparation and being prepared for an opportunity. I’m not going to come into this and not do my homework. I’m a big believer in communication. I’ll talk to people, probably reach out to coaches I know and find out things they would have done differently and things they thought they did that they probably would have changed. But I also have my own thoughts and ideas about how I want to do things, but I’m not too stubborn to know that I might have to make some changes. I know the NHL player well and I know that it’s different than the AHL. I understand that. I’ll be prepared and I am now.”

  • Green spoke at length about his personal growth as a player from being a high second round pick (23rd overall in 1989) to adapting to various roles on different teams throughout his career. He felt strongly that working with different coaches over his career and being asked to make different contributions to the teams he played for helps him understand both star players and those who occupy roster spots lower on the depth chart.

“I can relate to how some of the young guys are thinking or feeling. And that’s how you build relationships. You try to relate to them. I look back at my playing days and there are things I’m proud of and things I’m wasn’t as a player. I think that’s helped me in developing players and getting to understand them. Also understanding when a player is ready and when he’s not. There are so many little nuances in the game that unless you are really there and studying and you understand what it takes to win and the little battles and body position and stuff like that, it takes some players longer to grasp that. You have to let learn on the fly some of them. You have to give them rope. You want them to swim, you don’t want them to sink. You want them to go through adversity as well. I think it’s good for young players to go through adversity. If you’re playing for a Stanley Cup there is going to be adversity. And you want your players battle-tested and you want them to understand how hard it can be. I think young players have usually had things pretty easy because they’re really good players. And the NHL is a tough league. It’s a good league. And I think I have a good understanding of the young players mind and how they have to play.”

  • Green addressed the idea that he is at the same time tough on players and yet seen as a players coach. He knows it’s a delicate balancing act, but detailed how he approaches the coach-player relationship to maximize what he is able to get from those who suit up for him.

“I talk to players, I communicate with them, I’m honest with them. I’d like to think they always know where they stand with me. I don’t like a lot of gray areas. I don’t like players to wonder where they stand unless it’s on purpose. I think you have to have a relationship. Your players have to trust you and that you want the best out of them. Accountability is a big word. I want my players to be accountable in what they do, how they prepare, how they practice. I think if you build relationships and you communicate with players they appreciate it – especially today’s player. I don’t play a lot of mind games. They always know where they stand. At the end of the day, when I was a player, you always wanted to know where you stood. Good or bad you wanted to know if you needed to be pushed. Players need to be pushed. You have days – everyone does – when you’re lagging a little bit, but when the boss comes in they seem to perk up a little bit. It’s no different when you’re coaching. Some days you have to push your team and you have to find ways.  It’s not the same every day and it’s not the same every game. Good coaches find ways to push their players past or to the potential they can play.”

  • FireGillis

    The focus on this season is obviously not going to be to get points, as next year will will likely be just as bad as this year. I think if we are able to get our power play into the 10th-20th range rather than 29th then next year will be a good year.

  • I am Ted

    I wonder if this means McEneny, Subban and Pedan make the Canucks this year. I can see losing Sbisa to Vegas. Then maybe Hutton gets dealt for a young high end forward (centre?). That leaves us with openings. I am more than happy to see the team finish low if they’re developing youth along the way.

    • FireGillis

      I think it would be better to trade a defenseman priming out that is at their peak value right now. I would say either edler or tanev. I would also like to see loui eriksson exposed to Las Vegas. They would take him for sure and we would lose that atrocious contract.

      • Neil B

        We would lose two things if we did that: the really bad contract, and the ability to attract future UFAs. Fortunately, we are protected from making that horrible decision by Eriksson’s NMC.

        The player that we should expose is Sutter. He will not be traded (he will use his NTC to veto any move), but as he is lacking a NMC, he is eligible for expansion exposure. He might be a possession anchor, but he does have an NHL shot, so he might be attractive to someone as a RW who can take draws, or shift to middle-6 C as necessary. A Brad Richardson with worse Corsi.

        • Dirty30

          In a perfect world it would be great for that to happen. Given the potential side deals other teams are making with Vegas, it might cost Van something to direct Vegas’ attention in that direction.

          Amazed to say this but I’d rather lose Sutter than Sbisa to the draft.

      • Neil B

        Also, I’d not worry about Edler. He’s only with us for 2 more seasons at this contract. My guess is that he’ll see the writing on the wall in 2018-19, and allow us to shift him for a pick/prospect. If past behaviour is a clue to the future, that prospect would be a former #1 prospect who has been passed by one or two players younger than him, but would still be a top Canucks prospect.

    • Holly Wood

      I believe what you are saying is that you would replace Hutton with one of McEneny, Subban or Pedan. Can’t see that as a good move going forward. If that is your perceived value of Hutton, how in this world would you be able get a ”young high end forward(centre)” for him. C’mon Ted trade ideas like that are ridiculous. Now that Mike Milbury is no longer a GM trades like that would never happen

  • “I”m not too stubborn to know that I might have to make some changes.” Good, this was something that bugged me about Willie.

    “I”m a big believer in preparation. I’ll be prepared and I am now.” Also good.

    “Accountability is a big word. I want my players to be accountable.” Words to live by.

    All in all a good start, Travis Green comes across well. Likeable guy.

    • Rodeobill

      said pretty much everything I wanted to hear and made me believe it’s not just lip service. I think this year will be about building his systems, and getting the players to know who they are and what they are supposed to do in them. I was leary with the signing but my mind is a little more at ease now. We’ll see how it plays out or if the West coast media frenzy and impatient fan base get under his skin too much.

      Also… note to author of this article, this is my no.1 preferred source for all things canucks, so I mean this in the best possible way, although I appreciate the expeditious and frequent articles to read make sure you guys give them a one-over before publishing them to the website. It needs an edit (or maybe it just double printed the introduction on my computer).

  • wojohowitz

    I think handling the youngsters is quite straight forward but I wonder what he is planning for the veterans. Is it going to be the twins and Eriksson on the power play even if it doesn`t work? Is Edler going to play 25 minutes a night? Is Green going to pretend that Sutter is anything more than a fourth line center that can kill penalties and win faceoffs?

    Ed Willes recently made the comment that successful NHL teams are either fast or heavy and the Canucks are neither.

    • truthseeker

      eh….everyone thinks teams have to be “this way” or “that way”. I’m not so sure. The Hawks are neither fast nor heavy but they seem to do OK for themselves in spite of this first round exit.

      Lot of ways to put together a good team. Look at the 11 canucks. Some speed but not fast. Some toughness but not a “heavy” team. They had a little bit of everything, great at face offs, great PK, great PP, great systems play.

      Views like Willes said are just too simplistic. Sound bite material. No real thought to them.

  • Roy

    Back to back head coaches with no NHL experience and hey, why not a four year contract, *and( according to Linden no one else was interviewed for the job…okay. Green can say whatever he wants, Desjardins was utterly outclassed by other coaches as he utilized a hokey system of real good dependable guys and never once adjusted to other coaches who referred to him as the easiest coach to play against. Not surprising…with no NHL experience.

    I want to hear something with substance other than the boilerplate quotes referenced above and see a differently playing team next year. I don’t want to lose a good player to Vegas. I don’t care if we don’t make the playoffs, I just want something other than the clown college that was the Canucks this year. Frankly, I don’t see Green making big strides. I have no idea why they picked him, let alone gave him four years.

    And for god’s sake, even just make good on the power play. It has been a tire fire for years.

    • TD

      The power play was horrible with no movement. It was easy to defend against and needed some fresh ideas. It has to be better this year, but the lack of high end talent anywhere in the line-up will only allow it to improve so much. I will be happy with chances and movement, even if it doesn’t translate to lots of goals.

        • Neil B

          We’ll probably see McEneny before we see Subban. He worked his way from a 6-7 D to a 1PP guy, and scored 20 points in the latter half of the season. Not a great shot, but better than Stecher’s. Plays a good all-around defensive game, with good gap control; mostly plays a steerage game, from what I’ve seen. If he continues his trajectory, could grow into a Hamhuis-lite player, a dependable middle-pairing all-situations player.

    • truthseeker

      You’re acting as if they can’t fire him if they want to. Who cares, aside from the owners, about a 4 year contract? He’s not a player. His contract length is virtually meaningless. Especially with the Aquas. They may be a lot of things but they’ve never had a problem tossing away bad money.

      • Jimjamg

        Right on, no one would take this job at less than 4 years. Years 1 and 2 are all player development, year 3 is “show me the progress” and year 4 is severance if you don’t “show me the progress”. Standard rebuild coaching contract. Progress means playoffs by the way.

      • Roy

        Maybe to show they aren’t desperate and have taken a long view? Why scramble to hire someone with no NHL experience before the playoffs are even over and the inevitable fallout? If he’s not willing to spend a year as assistant coach, let him learn the ropes elsewhere. There is a lot of naive justification so far for what is clearly just a bit of lipstick for this pig of a team I had to watch all year.

      • Cageyvet

        Also, he reportedly is getting the low end of the salary range, which is not a surprise given his lack of experience, but a buy-out of Green would look nothing like what it cost them to ditch Torts (and a bonus 2nd rounder at that). I’m unsure of Green for all the usual reasons we’ve heard, including the fear that he may also “doghouse” some guys who need ice to develop, but I’m reserving judgement. Hopefully he’s all of the positives we’ve heard and can grow into the role the same as his players, next season should be a soft entry for him with low expectations.

  • Pat Quinn Way

    It sums up the utter ineptitude of this joke organisation that the players have to ‘earn’ their ice time yet the rookie head coach is signed to a four year deal without earning the top job! After the disaster of Willie D any team with smarts would hire an experienced nhl bench boss and bring in Green as an assistant.

    Great to see our Albertan brothers in Edmonton doing it the right way in only two years since Chiarelli/McLellan and McDavid came aboard and righted the ship bigtime… watch and learn Canucks blowhards!

      • Pat Quinn Way

        Listen Dud – I want PLAYOFF

        Listen Dud – I want playoff hockey and a Stanley Cup thanks and i’m not getting that with clowns like Benning, Willie D and Travis ‘bridesmaid’ Green and this current joke of a roster (29th worst out of 30 teams) – go watch Pittsburgh or Edmonton in the playoffs fool and get a grip.. or better still p^ss off back to your Nana Plaza pals in Bangkok eh!

    • Holly Wood

      After 10 futile years and many, many high draft picks stumbled upon Connor McDavid, so don’t be piping off saying that the Oilers are doing it the right way. Until McDavid came along the Oilers had been the biggest mess in league including the Leafs. In Soccer they would have been relegated to the ECHL

  • Steamer

    Hope springs eternal:) “Il faut cultiver notre jardin.” – Voltaire. New coach, let’s give him a chance & see what difference
    there is in deployments, how hard the team plays, etc. Now on to the lottery, draft.

  • Double U Tee Eff

    The veterans were the biggest disappointment last year. The Sedins, Erikson, Sutter, Sbisa, Gudbranson (before he got hurt) and Edler all had terrible years. While the focus is bringing along the young guys, Green will need all his communication skills and coaching attributes to deal with this underachieving group.