Jump to content

Tocchet Coaching: Good and Bad


Recommended Posts

A lot of people are picking Rick Tocchet for Coach of the Year.

 

And certainly based on the improvement in the point total for the Canucks, you'd have to say he is a definite candidate to win.

 

Although you would also need to say, that without the changes management made, replacing 4 of 6 starting defensemen, and bringing in players like Blueger and Lafferty, Tocchet wouldn't have nearly as much success.

 

And there are two sides to his coaching style.

 

The Good

 

Structure

 

Tocchet's focus on structure and defensive responsibility is definitely a factor in the team's improvement.  Whether or not he was responsible for Foote and Gonchar being brought in, or whether they were an Alvin/Rutherford decision, these two guys fit well with Tocchet's ideas on defensive structure and play.  Together the three coaches have transformed the defensive play of the Canucks.

 

Miller

 

Tocchet's biggest success of the year has been in his effect on JT Miller.  He has forged personal relationship with him, given him confidence, and turned him from a forward who was inconsistent to one who is the mainstay of the team.  Miller is Tocchet's kind of player, a power forward, who plays physical and direct.  The two guys like each other.  Tocchet has expressed his confidence in Miller multiple times and that confidence has rubbed off... Miller has put his emotional weaknesses behind him.

 

Boeser

It may be that Brock Boeser's success this year would have happened without Tocchet.  Brock is finally coming out from under the huge weight of his father's long illness and death... with him finally at rest, Brock finally was able to move ahead without that weighing on his mind... and probably would have improved his play.  But Tocchet decision to the partner Brock with Miller was a key factor, and keeping these two guys together was important for both of their successes.

 

The Bad:

 

Demko

 

Thatcher Demko is a great goalie.  He has been elite throughout his career.  But he has also shown he is fragile.  He suffered serious injuries both in Abbotsford, and in Vancouver.  Last year he was out for the last part of the season, playing only 32 games and spent the summer recovering.  It should have been obvious his playing time needed to be carefully watched, and his number of games needed to be kept reasonable.   But Tocchet played him 51 games... and he was re-injured.  Then after he came back, he was played in a meaningless game at the end of the season when other players were sat out.  Now he is injured again... and the team's chances in the playoffs are dramatically less without him.

 

Pettersson

 

Unlike Miller, Tocchet does not seem to have created a personal connection to Pettersson.  You rarely hear him talk about him with the same glowing terms that he uses for Miller.  Petey is a completely different style of player from Tocchet... he is an elite passer, with excellent playmaking and shooting skills.  But he is not physically dominant like either Miller or Tocchet... in fact the opposite.  Tocchet does not seem to understand what is needed to allow Pettersson to succeed... which is that he needs a creative winger to play with.

 

Lets look at the early part of the year.  At the game 20 point, Pettersson was leading the league with 30 points, on a 120 point pace, he had the highest +/- on the team.  His linemate Kuzmenko had 15 points, on a 60 point pace.  Mikheyev had 11 points.  All three were in positive +/- totals.  Yet Tocchet took this line, which had allowed Pettersson to flourish and broke it up... assigning Kuzmenko to the 4th line.  Kuzmenko was one of the two playmakers on Pettersson's line... he was replaced with various 4th liners.  That started the long decline in Pettersson's offensive production... only temporarily halted when the Lotto line was re-united and Pettersson had a burst of scoring and won NHL Player of the Week.  Eventually Kuzmenko was traded for Lindholm... who was supposed to be a defensively responsible winger who could play with Pettersson.  But Lindholm only played a couple games with Pettersson... then Tocchet assigned him elsewhere, either to Miller's line or on the 3rd line.  Pettersson was left with Hoglander, who can score, but who is not a passer or playmaker, and various 4th liners.  Pettersson has done his best to play to Tocchet's style, you see him hit far more often this year... but it is clear he is at a loss without Kuzmenko or someone he can pass with.  Gradually his confidence, which was his strongest asset, has completely disappeared.  Pettersson is Tocchet's biggest failure.

 

Lack of Flexibility

 

Tocchet is clearly the kind of coach who doesn't allow a lot of deviation from his gameplan...  "My way or the Highway" could be his byword.  If you don't play his defensive structure, then you are gone. 

 

He has also shown an inability to modify his structure when its not working.  The current series against Nashville is the perfect example.  After the first game, which the Canucks dominated... Nashville changed up their structure and forechecking plan... to focus on three in deep, heavy forecheck pressure... and has completely dominated the Canucks since... despite the 'miracle' wins Vancouver has been able to pull out.

 

Meanwhile Tocchet is still playing the same structure and lineup... no changes.  His philosophy seems to be... if something isn't working... keep doing it again.  From my perspective, he is being completely out-coached in this series.  He tells the media... "...our guys need to move their feet." when talking about the forecheck pressure... meanwhile Hughes is a punching bag for every Nashville forward and the Canucks can't get out of their own end or generate offense.

 

Conclusion

 

Tocchet is an excellent defensive structure coach.  But he does not seem to understand offense, other than what falls in the area of his own experience... i.e. up and down the wing, hit hard.

 

The team has greatly improved this year.  Maybe Tocchet deserves Coach of the Year just based on the regular season.  But unless he recognizes he needs to adapt to the types of players he has as offensive assets on the team, as well as adapting to different circumstances in the playoffs, his playoff record may not be a positive one.

  • Cheers 2
  • Upvote 1
  • Vintage 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate the point of view and detail you put in this post

 

but i don't necessarily agree with your assessment.

 

more players than not have flourished offensively under Tocchet. I think with Tocchet and the Canucks it's always been about taking 1-step back than 2 steps forward and for some players he's had to reign them in a bit and hone in on the fundamentals

 

Devon Toews put a lot in perspective forme with his interview when he blasted his team mates about them not working as team and not knowing where the team mates will be on the ice because players are cheating. Even Petey had an interview earlier in the year when Tocchet put Pius Suter on his line, Petey post-game said "it's nice to have line mates that are predictable and you know where they're going to be on the ice"

 

Hockey is a team sport, you need structure and as a coach you need to establish the best structure that fits the entire team, not just a group of players. If it means that 2-3 players regress for the benefit of 15 others improving and the entire team improving than i think you make that decision.

 

No different than what Brunette did in Nashville ... plenty of their skilled guys regressed and saw diminished roles as Brunette and Trotz focused on implementing a new structure and identity 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, DrJockitch said:

I thought he was overplaying Demko and that he is a fucking fantastic coach. Dialectics at its best. 

Rick doesn’t make the decisions on the goalies. That’s Ian Clark from what I understand 

  • Vintage 1
  • ThereItIs 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@-Buzzsaw- You can't make a post discussing Tocchet's defensive structures... without actually talking about his defensive structures. 

 

In the OZ, the Canucks use an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, which puts intense pressure on the two D-men and forces immediate turnovers.

 

In the NZ, I believe Tocchet uses a traditional 1-2-2 with an emphasis on disrupting movement up the zone.

 

In the DZ, he uses a conventional box+1 coverage which focuses on maintaining defensive shape and preventing goals from the slot.  Requires a high level of communication (and drives Tocchet mad when he doesn't see players talking).

 

So from there, you can assess how well his defensive strcuture has worked throughout the regular season, as well as against Nashville.  You would probably have to make a completely different post discussing his offensive structure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Miss Korea said:

@-Buzzsaw- You can't make a post discussing Tocchet's defensive structures... without actually talking about his defensive structures. 

 

In the OZ, the Canucks use an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, which puts intense pressure on the two D-men and forces immediate turnovers.

 

In the NZ, I believe Tocchet uses a traditional 1-2-2 with an emphasis on disrupting movement up the zone.

 

In the DZ, he uses a conventional box+1 coverage which focuses on maintaining defensive shape and preventing goals from the slot.  Requires a high level of communication (and drives Tocchet mad when he doesn't see players talking).

 

So from there, you can assess how well his defensive strcuture has worked throughout the regular season, as well as against Nashville.  You would probably have to make a completely different post discussing his offensive structure.

You have included both offensive and defensive... since forecheck is both offense and defense.

 

What others besides myself have noted is the 2-1-2 forecheck is getting burnt because Nashville is clearing the D-Zone so fast with direct up passing... Josi in particular is a master of the long first pass, MacDonagh is pretty good too.  That has left the two Canucks in on forecheck marooned and resulted in out manned Canuck defenders in the NZ and DZ.  The 2-1-2 is not working.

 

Neither is the regular season go-to Canuck offensive puck movement system working... which has heavily relied on Hughes and the other Canuck D having the time to skate out of the DZ, through the NZ and carry it into the OZ.

 

Tocchet should have adapted to these realities by a) focusing on supporting puck retrieval by the D in the DZ with low forwards and passes out of the DZ to generate Offense... catching the Nashville forecheck out of position, and b) a Canuck forecheck which puts a single forechecker in and leaves two guys high to break up the long passes from the Nashville D in the NZ.

 

Re. what the other posters say:

 

The facts are there in black and white on the stats page...  Early season Pettersson thrived with a playmaker on his line, and since Kuz was removed and not replaced, has only had decent success when he was on the Lotto line.

 

And re. Kuzmenko... he's been traded, its a done deal and now the team has to focus on using the guy they got in return... Lindholm.  As it stands now, looking at the regular season stats, its a toss up between Lindholm and Kuzmenko. 

 

Kuz was 8g/13a/-1 with the Canucks in 43 games, and 14g/11a/-8 with Calgary in 29 games.  Lindy was 9g/23a/-8 in 49 games with Calgary and 6g/6a/-6 in 26 games with Canucks.

 

Lindholm has played better in the playoffs... but despite the three points is +0.  He is having some impact, but that is negated by the fact the team overall is not going.  As I said, it would be better if he was in the top six where he can get either Pettersson going or make the Miller line even more potent.

  • Vintage 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Devron said:

Rick doesn’t make the decisions on the goalies. That’s Ian Clark from what I understand 

Wrong...  Ian Clark gives Tocchet advice... Tocchet makes the decision.  He's the head coach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only issue with Tochet is he can't coach offense to save his life.

 

The guy is great at systems and structured defense but can't do anything coaching wise offensively.

 

The proof is in how impotent the pp is. He is in charge of that. 

 

First priority for this management is to hire a pp or offensive coach this offseason. Tochett liking it or not be damned. 

  • Vintage 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, -Buzzsaw- said:

Wrong...  Ian Clark gives Tocchet advice... Tocchet makes the decision.  He's the head coach.

Complaining about Demko's workload is silly.   Of course there is a plan schedule dictated, on when he will play.   Even IF he played every single game missed due to injury, his workload still would have been within a comfortable range for a number one star goalie, or simply a number one.   Keanan would have played him way more. 

  • Desmenko 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for the OP, you can bet that Brock's year and EPs hot start, directly relates to the messaging to put the work in this off season.   

 

EP was "reversing hitting" and playing similar hockey to what we got used to the previous season...something happened and that part stopped.   Suspect he found out it can hurt a lot.   So quit to avoid injury.     As for his linemate's.  Hogs was a 20 plus goal scorer playing 11 minutes a night.    And look what he did playing with Goldobin.   It's why he got the big bucks.   Blaming Tochett for EPs play is wrong target.    I'm sure he'd love to see him kick some ass and score some goals.    Tochett scored close to 500 goals in this league, and played with some of the best ever - arm chair coaches who think they know better crack me up. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, 24K said:

The only issue with Tochet is he can't coach offense to save his life.

 

The guy is great at systems and structured defense but can't do anything coaching wise offensively.

 

The proof is in how impotent the pp is. He is in charge of that. 

 

First priority for this management is to hire a pp or offensive coach this offseason. Tochett liking it or not be damned. 


image.png.2f0f06524c0eed7d12bc575aec21e0f8.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really wish I knew how much is coaching vs how much are the players on this team. Tocchet preaches certain things, yet when they aren't delivered he doesn't call a timeout and he doesn't adjust much to get those things. He wants a hard-nosed forecheck yet often times we see pucks chipped in at the blue line and a wholesale line change with absolutely zero forecheck. We get told he wants the defense to step up to keep pressure, yet often times they back off into the neutral zone instead of hemming in. 

 

I really wonder if line changes and short shifts (too short) are on the coach or on the players trying to listen to the coach and assuming wrong.

 

I high disagree with the 2-1-2 in the offensive zone the way he has them structured because the center forward is always right next to the crease (when they should be high slot to prevent transitions and it also opens up shooting possibilities and stretches the defense. 

 

I love the defensive structure but hate how uncreative this team is offensively. Often times we regain possession and literally play no-risk hockey which leads to ridiculously low goal-scoring games when we have the skill to absolutely blow games wide open. Earlier in the year we were committing to offense and now we commit to defense and all of a sudden our team isn't finding the success it had. The best defense is keeping the play in the offensive zone, something our team sucks at doing for the last several months. 

 

I'd say he's a good coach if he actually displayed accountability through his actions and not just his words. It just sounds as if there's so much fluff in his post game interviews. It all sounds good and we all agree with it, but we don't ever see the change on the ice necessary to implement the changes. Why is it one period the team is doing everything right and the next period they do the complete opposite despite the success of the previous period?! Irritating as fuck. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Tocchet might have started to lose the room or at the very least getting players frustrated over his insistence to not challenge anything. 

 

To some degree it is like the coach telling the player that he doesn't think or believe they are good enough to kill off a penalty. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as pettersson goes, anyone making 11.6 mil should be able to produce better than he is with the linemates he's got.  You don't sign contracts for that kind of money and  then be kind of guy who loses confidence. That's $32000.00 per days 365.

If UT turns out he's injured then he shouldn't be playing. I'd rather see Linus K in there.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just move him to the 4th line.Put the Thee 3rd line back together and move Lindholm up to Peteys line.Why the hell he hasn't put Blueger back with Joshus and Garland is beyond me.This having to keep the 3 centers where they are and averaging less than 20 shots a game isn't sustainable.They got very lucky in game 4.This could easily be 3-2 the other way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/30/2024 at 9:59 PM, -Buzzsaw- said:

Sad to say, but Tocchet didn't changeup the lines for game 5 and the Canucks could not generate any offense once again.

 

Maybe next game Tocchet wakes up.

Canucks had their best game of the series game 5. Out high danger chanced Nashville like 17 to 5. They were generating chances. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, 24K said:

I think Tocchet might have started to lose the room or at the very least getting players frustrated over his insistence to not challenge anything. 

 

To some degree it is like the coach telling the player that he doesn't think or believe they are good enough to kill off a penalty. 

What is your evidence for thinking tocchet is starting to lose the room? Just a guess? I see that as ridiculous. I do not think the challenge would have worked, and neither did the video coaches, which is what they told Tocchet. No point challenging if you are just going to loose. It was a tie game, Canucks were looking good. It just blows my mind how you can say he might be losing the room because he didn’t challenge a play that wasn’t going to win anyway. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...