Photo Credit: © Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to get in the mind of Canucks head coach Travis Green, as told by his former players

Castlegar native Travis Green is a man of few words.

His post and pregame pressers are a gem themselves.

The Vancouver media must be clever when crafting their questions with him because if not, he won’t hesitate to give a one-word answer.

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Sprinkle in snarky comments and it’s sometimes like sitting in the dentist chair and pulling teeth trying to get something from him. Always calculating his next move, trying to one up on his opponents as if he were playing poker with them. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

I’m not a mind reader, and I don’t pretend to be one, but let’s try and get into the mind of coach Green. Some who will have a better insight are players that played for him in the WHL and AHL.

With help from Burnaby native and current member of the Philadelphia Flyers organization Tyler Wotherspoon, who played under Green in Portland and former Canuck Brandon DeFazio, who was with Green in Utica.

Brandon DeFazio

Q: What was it like playing for Travis Green?

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A: I really enjoyed my time with Travis, what he’s good at is he’s very honest to people, he finds a way to help you grow as a player. He knows how to talk to all different players and finds ways to inspires them to be better.

Q: What’s his pregame routine like? Any great speeches, or did he let you do your own thing?

A: Does both. He tests the temperature of the room and he trusts the leadership group to say things if need be. He spends lots of time with them and knows when to say and not to say something. When the ten-game losing streak occurred, he told us things are gonna get better we gotta learn how to play we aren’t their yet but it will get better, second he knows how to keep your mind focused.

Q: Did he adapt as the game went on, for example, change things up if things weren’t going as planned from game to game?

A: He’s always thinking about it. He doesn’t care what people think, demands high effort from his players, makes the right decisions. He wants to win, and players who battle with him will earn it.

Q: Was there a difference from regular season Green as to postseason Green?

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A: Best coaches handle it in stride, and some coaches let their emotions run to them. I don’t see that in Travis, he stays the same, having his own playoff experience as a player helps, and he sticks to what he believes in. He’s a confident guy.

Q: What’s one lesson you learned from him?

A: In a way, he was pushing them during the camp (2.0) for what’s to come. Having Travis knowing he had your best interest at heart. He also told me to stick to what you are don’t pretend something you aren’t. He brings out the best of each player. There’s a hunger an unspoken hunger to become better, to become an elite team to become the best. He creates the culture, and the players understand that.

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Q: If you catch any Canucks games, do you see a difference from him as an AHL coach and now as an NHL coach?

A: Not much has changed for me. He’s the same smart guy who understands people and knows how to talk to veterans and rookies.

Q: If you could get into the mind of Travis Green, what do you think he would be thinking before a playoff game such as tonight?

A: Pretty controlled, he’d have his players know what to do. He knows what he wants to do to, and have meetings with players. He’d probably ask players to pop in his office and talk before the game.

Tyler Wotherspoon

As for when Green was in the WHL, Tyler Wotherspoon has us covered.

Q: How did Green’s style suit your game?

A: I’d say his style suited my game well because Greener is a pretty straight shooter when it comes to what he expects from you and how he wants you to play and for the style that I play, which is a shut down two-way defenseman it let me focus on what I did best and play to my abilities.

Q: Did he adapt as the game went on, for example, change things up if things weren’t going as planned from game to game?

A: From my experience, he was very good at adapting, especially with the situation of stepping in as head coach in the middle of a season and keeping everyone in line with the goal of winning the championship.

Q: Was there a difference from regular season Green as to postseason Green?

A: I’d say with any good coach not much changes from the regular season to playoffs, by playoff time you know your team and how to handle it. As a player, I felt more confident with a calm and collected coach under pressure situations, and I think he was able to handle those situations well.

Q: What’s one lesson you learned from him?

A: I’d say just learning to be a good pro. He was my junior coach from age 16 to 19, so through my developmental years, he (Green) and Mike Johnson were great role models to prepare me for the next level.

Q: If you catch any Canucks games, do you see a difference from him as a CHL coach and now as an NHL coach?

A: To be honest, I haven’t been able to catch too many Canucks games with how focused I am on my own games, but from what I’ve seen, he’s been having success, and they are an exciting team to watch much like we were in Portland.

Q: How is it being on the opposite side from your time against his teams in the AHL?

A: From what I can remember, it was never easy playing against his team. They always came out every game prepared and ready to play.

All in this together

Travis Green calculates every possible move. He’s a player’s coach and tells you how it is. He has his players’ backs, and in return, he asks for them to give it their all. It doesn’t matter where in the lineup you play, it’s about effort. From the WHL or AHL, you know what you are getting from Travis Green.

He lets players play their own game and there’s a trusted leadership group that holds everyone accountable.

His first postseason appearance in his NHL coaching career will only help the young coach continue to grow and improve.