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8 simple rules for managing the Vancouver Canucks’ defence: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
7 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed some strategies for the Canucks’ defence and how the team can optimize the group for success.
The show started off with the guys previewing tonight’s home game against the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00pm, with forward Andrei Kuzmenko making his return after being a healthy scratch for two consecutive games. With Kuzmenko back in, the Canucks will need to take a different forward out of the lineup. 
“In the spirit of competition, you want to keep guys accountable and that level of competition high. The way you do that is give Phillip Di Giuseppe the night off, but the next game, you take maybe a guy like Anthony Beauvillier out,” Quads said, noting Di Giuseppe didn’t participate in practice with the team, suggesting he’ll be the one in the press box against the Ducks tonight.
The guys continued on to their eight simple rules for managing the Canucks’ defence to keep them fresh, competent, and competitive. 
1. Keep Hughes and Hronek as fresh as possible
Giving these players maintenance days and monitoring their minutes are going to be very important for this team all season long. A fresh and healthy Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek has the potential to be one of the best pairings in the NHL, as they were to start this season.
2. Keep the competition healthy
Keeping everyone accountable by having players rotate in from the press box, and keeping continuity between Abbotsford and Vancouver’s principles/systems.
3. Improve puck skills among defencemen
More puck skills work in practice. Harman recalled a conversation he had with Luke Schenn last year about how the nature of NHL practices are conducive to working on little things like puck skills. Little improvements like this make a big difference over the course of a game.
4. Keep shifts short
This one is simple. Making sure everyone on the ice is fresh is of the utmost importance, and is something Tocchet has highlighted numerous times already this season.
5. Forwards need to be more disciplined 
Forwards can’t take unnecessary penalties in offensive zone, causing defencemen like Hughes and Hronek to play even tougher minutes whilst shorthanded.
6. Simplify Tyler Myers’ game and stay healthy enough as a team to limit him to 18 minutes per night
Tyler Myers can be solid with a simple structure and limited time to make mistakes. “If Myers is playing 20+ minutes, he’s going to see more top 6 competition and that’s where he’s vulnerable to get exposed,” said Harman when discussing this point.
7. Improve breakouts
The defenceman’s job becomes much easier when breakouts are seamless, as we’ve seen with a team like the Florida Panthers. Forward’s habits on breakouts need to improve in order for defensive breakouts to improve. 
8. Clone Quinn Hughes
This one is pretty self explanatory.
The guys then got to some listener questions, including one asking if there are any worries about Filip Hronek’s defensive play of late:
“Not worried about it,” Harm answered. “I just think he’s an average defensive player. He has the potential to be slightly above average when he’s at his best like he was earlier in the season, but there’s a reason why Detroit didn’t use him against top competition. He’s not a do-it-all defenceman, which is fine. He is in for a massive payday, that’s where it would concern me. If he’s in the 7.5 million range, you’re not loving that contract when the player is only average defensively.”
You can watch the full “8 Simple Rules” segment in the video below:

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