A peek inside Coyotes coaching

Posted: 05/23/2012 by bc in Uncategorized

What intrigued me about this report from the Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek is how many sport and life cliches are routinely discussed here on this blog.
For example, on team chemistry Duhatschek also turns to Aristotle to explain that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Who said you don’t have to be smart to get hockey?
The ‘Yotes coaching triumverate, Dave Tippett, Dave King and Sean Burke came together while King coached Tipper & Burkie on Canada’s National teams of 1984-88. Their advance learnin’ came from battling “those darn Russians.” After Bobby Orr & Doug Harvey “those darn Rooskies” are the greatest influence on the game in my lifetime.

“I remember, we had a period against Chicago in the Chicago series and Burkie and I got down from the dressing room to talk to Tipper between periods and we were all saying: ‘That’s just like playing the darn Russians, they wouldn’t give us the puck. We needed two pucks out there that period.’

Puck possession and puck managment systems are two more examples of topics routinely discussed here.

One thing Tipper will often say to these guys is: ‘If you’re going to be good against this team, you have to be good one on one.’ And he’s going right back to his days playing the Russians in 1984 and how good they were. So you can’t forget some of those fundamental things you learn in those Russia-Canada confrontations. They teach you some things you need to know if you want to win, or at least stay competitive.”

When isn’t the one on one battle discussed here? Or for that matter the game within the game and the x’s and o’s?
Nice to know that the same things we discuss here are also discussed and put into practice among the pro’s.

  1. czhokej says:

    I grew up watching Russians (or the Soviet Union) play hockey – fast, puck possession style. Almost everything was pre-calculated, and pre-planned. Especially positioning and passing. At that time, Canadian and US teams played more spontaneous style of hockey, relying more on free spirit and instincts. I remember one surprising experience – during any odd-man attack, the Russian puck carrier would almost always pass (sometimes there were three or more passes during the rush), and American players shot the puck themselves most of the time. Part of this fact could be explained by the different ice size, and another aspect was that Canada and US were not represented at the world championships by the top players, or the top NHL teams. Only amateurs were allowed during those times (make no mistake, the Russians were professionals, even though they had some fictitious jobs).
    However, some of that difference between passing and shooting and between individual and collective identity is still visible today.

    • One popular meme we were taught is, the shortest distance to the net is a straight line. If you have a lane you take it, if not you pass.
      The Soviets approached it very differently. They recognized that it’s easier to score when the goalie is moving. (Note to rookies, the goalie opens his body to move across the crease.) The Soviets designed their attack to force the goalie to keep moving. The North American achieves putting the goalie in motion by getting traffic in front and scoring off a rebound.
      USA Hockey is committed to developing players for Olympic hockey rather than the NHL. As a result it adopted European ideas and strategies. Today, perhaps as a result of its so-called Melting Pot culture of assimilation, USA Hockey is now a hybrid mutt of the Euro and Canadian games. We all know Americans are basically mutts anyway 😉
      The larger ice surface enhances puck possession. There are fewer forced turnovers. Defending is more about containment than it is on taking the man out of the play. In other words the defender first takes away the puck carrier’s skating lanes and forces a pass or dump into a safe area. In our game the prime directive is to take the puck carrier out of the play.

      A couple of differences to playing on a European sized rink was adjusting to what was going on behind me. On a smaller rink you can use the glass to see what’s coming behind you and where guys are positioned. On the larger rink it’s more of a sweeping panoramic view. Here in SoCal rink size is especially challenging as it goes from that postage stamp in Pasadena to standard NA sized rinks to Euro style.
      Also playing on the larger rink made the game less intimate. You just don’t get the physical contact you do on a smaller ice surface. You just don’t get as many oppurtunities to say bad things about your opponent’s appearance, game or his Mom, sister or significant other as you do on the smaller rink.

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