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Coach Torts First Month Report Card

Coach Torts FIRED

The first  month of Canucks hockey is in the books, and although still somewhat of a small sample size, it’s safe to say we know what type of team the Canucks are going to be. Coupled with John Tortortella’s style of hard forechecking, and maintaining a strong defensive structure, with the high skilled, quick skaters the Canucks possess, the team has the potential to be a dominant threat on both ends of the ice. Lets take a look into a few areas where we can examine early on to see how the Canucks will play throughout the remainder of the season.

Blocking shots. Easy? Not a chance. Does it have its benefits? Sure. Will it hurt? Definitely. Can it pay off? You bet it can. Coach Torts from the very first day in Vancouver preached blocking shots. It was clear it took the players time to get used to the new style, but they seem to have gotten used to it. Sure there might be times in the year when some players might miss a couple of games from getting injured by blocking a shot (Burrows), but in the end it’s worth it. The Canucks top shot blocker is currently Alex Edler who checks in at Number 6 in the NHL for that category. From the looks of it, this years Canucks team is willing to sacrifice their bodies for each other, and come playoff time, that is going to be a huge confidence booster both for the team, and Canucks fans everywhere.

Secondly, another major change has been has been the penalty killing unit. The Sedin twins out of all people have had a big part in killing penalties off this year as Coach Torts sees it as an opportunity to keep them engaged throughout the game. Instead of keeping them on the bench when the  Canucks are short handed, the coach sees it as a opportunity for the twins to create offense for others. Heck maybe now the twins will finally lose that “soft” label they have been attached with ever since they entered the league together – which Tortorella says its stupid. By consistently having everyone killing off penalties, instead of a few players, the entire team remains active, and engaged.

Lastly, the Canucks have been forechecking much more this year when compared to the past. Instead of relying on the twins to dance their way into the offensive zone, the Canucks now have another more team orientated approach. Forechecking allows a team to maintain pressure on the opposition without letting them get down to your zone to get a scoring opportunity. When deployed properly,  it can leave opposing defenses scrambling, and often times lost. What this does for the Canucks is relieve some of the offensive pressure off the twins and not always rely on them to gain the zone.

What is clearly evident with the Canucks team this year is that Coach Torts wants a more balance offensive, and defensive team. Instead of relying heavily on a few select players, he wants everyone to have a key part in his attempt to implement his philosophy of hockey with this years roster. Still early in the season, the Canucks have looked solid, but there is still some fine tuning needed for them to succeed. From what we have seen early on the season, I think it is safe to say this years Canucks team is a more team orientated, tough nosed group compared to last years.

Written by: Hamed Amiri

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