Hitch Tells Team "Wake Up"...and they Listen - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hitch Tells Team "Wake Up"...and they Listen

As I was subjecting myself to more articles and videos on last nights game, I came across this article linked from Kukla's Korner entitled What a Period.

I found myself a bit deflated that it had to be the team I cheer for who was on the receiving end of the third period beatdown that's the talk of Internet town. However the first thing that came to my mind was that their coach told them wake up...and they did.

Wouldn't it be nice if the coach for the Avalanche could tell the team to wake up, dig in their heels and pull out a win...and they would? It's becoming apparent that Q's tactics just aren't working and you can't continue to blame the goaltenders or the players. The coaches have a job to do and it's simple. Get the team to buy into a system of play and make the players accountable for mistakes while instilling confidence in them at the same time.

So far in all of Q's tenure here, the players haven't bought into the system being preached. And really can you blame them? You can't call "try to score more goals than the other team then cross your fingers once you have the lead" a "system."

The PP has struggled this year and Q's idea to remedy things was to take Sakic off the point and put Wolski there. Ok, Wolski hasn't looked too bad there but why is Quenneville so adamant on having a forward play the point? We've got Liles, Cumiskey and Clark who are all capable of playing an offensive role. Put Hannan out on the second unit as a filler and shot taker and there you go.

The PK hasn't been terrible statistically but at 81.5%, 17th in the league, they should definitely be looking to improve. I'm still not a fan of the "no pressure" style of penalty killing as it gives the other team far too much time to pass the puck around. With PKers like Hejduk, Stastny, Richardson and Sakic, they should be pushing the other team for a turnover at the blue line to take advantage of.

And the defense. Where to begin. Well actually, it's simple. The first thing I was ever taught when playing defense was that you took the man first and the puck second. From novice all the way up, that's what the minor hockey coaches preach. So why is it that in "the" league, all the defenseman on this team tend to go for the puck? And I'm not talking taking a swipe at the puck and missing. It's more this idea of flopping to the ice to break the pass/block a shot. If you lay the opposing player flat on his ass, he's not about to pass or shoot the puck. It's a much more efficient system.

Oh, and just to throw one in for offense. What in the holy hell is Ryan Smyth doing taking shots from the outside? What happened to the in-your-face, garbage goal scoring, goaltender interfering, heart and soul player that he was in Edmonton? He's shown flashes of those abilities but he's also shown flashes of trying to be a bit of a finesse player. And that's a fault of the coaches.

When are the coaches going to wake up and take responsibility?

Related Links
The Coach Q Factor
Pair of Goalies is None


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