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Rick Tocchet talks Jack Adams win, potential adjustments for Canucks’ offence, and more

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jagraj Lalli
25 days ago
Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet recently joined “The Chirp with Darren Millard” to discuss various topics, including his Jack Adams Award win, the Stanley Cup Final matchup, and life in the off-season. Tocchet also delved into the adjustments he expects the Canucks to make to maintain their success on the ice.
 
Reflecting on his Jack Adams Award win, Tocchet emphasized the collective effort behind the achievement. “I know it’s an organizational trophy, and a lot of people helped me out,” he said. “I’m proud of it, but my mind is always thinking ahead, like, what do we do next year? Do I change training camp?”
Tocchet shared insights into his offseason routine, emphasizing the importance of regrouping and preparing for the upcoming season. He highlighted the critical role of assistant coaches in this process. Reflecting on the Canucks’ season and playoff run, Tocchet acknowledged that next season would be more challenging as opponents will no longer be surprised by their play.
“We didn’t score enough in the playoffs,” Tocchet admitted. “Can I open up the system a little bit? Is there a way we can be a better rush team? We weren’t a good rush team analytics-wise, but we were one of the best at defending the rush. Is there a sweet spot?”
The Canucks averaged 20.8 shots per game in the playoffs, and much of that in-zone offence relied on creating point shots with traffic. Their shots primarily came from the left side of the ice at the point, leading to tips, deflections, and rebounds around the net. Cross-seam passes or plays into the slot were less frequent compared to other NHL teams.
During the regular season, the Canucks’ lack of rush chances went unnoticed because they excelled at finishing the few they had. However, relying solely on finishing is risky. The lack of transition attacks didn’t hurt the Canucks in the regular season, but it became an issue in the playoffs.
Earlier in the regular season, the Canucks were considered one of the best teams off the rush. In January, SportLogic’s director of analytics and insights, Mike Kelly, noted the Canucks’ impressive 22 percent conversion rate on rush chances, compared to the NHL average of 11 percent.
Tocchet also discussed the necessity of adapting and learning from other teams to improve.
“I give our coaches a project to look at the top three rush teams and see what they’re doing that we can learn from, without sacrificing our defensive game. That’s what I mean by reinventing ourselves,” he explained. “Good coaches take a deep dive to figure out what can be improved.”
He further reflected on the team’s growth in handling pressure throughout the season, emphasizing the importance of a strong mindset. “When we moved from the regular season to the Stanley Cup playoffs, I learned a lot about our team,” Tocchet noted. “My mantra is ‘meet pressure with pressure.’ Wherever the pressure is, on or off the ice, we need to find it and attack it, not avoid it.”
Addressing the team dynamics and future challenges, Tocchet said: “We were a bubble team with a lot of noise and negativity in Vancouver. There wasn’t much trust. But over the last year and a half, thanks to Patrik Allvin, Jim Rutherford, and the Aquilini family, we’ve made progress. Players like Quinn Hughes, J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Tyler Myers bought into our vision and trusted each other. Now that we’ve won the Pacific Division, we’re no longer surprising anyone. Every game will be tough, and things will get harder. Our team might change significantly with seven players potentially leaving in free agency, and we’ll need to sign new players. We have to embrace these challenges.”

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