When Bruce Boudreau arrived on December 6th and abruptly threw together a morning skate ahead of shutting out the Los Angeles Kings that evening, some of the talk around the Vancouver Canucks beat was “Gabby’s” ability to bring energy and enthusiasm on the fly.
It also meant trying to instill some of his system adjustments in a hurry.
“It’s not like we had training camp to teach (or learn) this stuff,” was the common refrain.
Not that systems vary dramatically between NHL head coaches, because they don’t, but there are definitely some tweaks and subtle differences to when certain things are implemented and to what degree of intensity.
The Vancouver Canucks should know Boudreau’s stuff by now.
“We’ve had enough practice time, they now know, I would think, how I want them to play and what I expect them to do,” Boudreau said. “As long as we play as hard as we can, I’ll be very happy with that.”
“The time off, a lot of the practice time has given him an opportunity to put a plan in place and switch things around that I’m sure he would have liked to do in training camp,” said Canucks Captain Bo Horvat, “but this has been a kind of mini-training camp for him and us to adjust to the things he wanted to tweak.”
It also resembles a mini-camp with some tough skating drills at the end of the first two practices, with the reasoning brought up by the coach after the session on Monday.
“If we’ve got back-to-back games coming up, once we start the Florida run and you’ve got 11 games in 22 days, you’ve gotta be in … I always think we’ve gotta be in the best shape, then we’ll usually be better than other teams and will work harder,” Boudreau explained. “That’s what we’re trying to get this week while practising.”
There’s no reason to believe the Vancouver Canucks and the coaches should not be in sync moving forward.
“I don’t think there’s too much more we’re going to change,” added Horvat, “now we’ve just gotta go out there and do it.”