06 November 2008
However if there's a grade after a full season, after 12 games you can give a pop quiz, and I think now is a fair time to start evaluating some of the positives and negatives of the Avs bench boss.
•He doesn't play with lines too much. I've been happy with the way he hasn't juggled his line after every other shift. And while the Avs haven't played well, It seems some chemistry has developed with some of the linemates (Wolski and Sakic, and Stastny and Smyth particularly seem to have built some Chemistry.
• He has picked a goalie rotation plan and stuck with it. Raycroft hasn't given him much choice, but he chose Budaj and has been consistent with his starts. I may not play him on back-to-back nights though.
• Up-tempo style. while it hasn't been working the last few games, overall the Avs up-tempo style has produced entertaining, and high scoring hockey. Hejduks scoring at a blistering pace, and Sakic and Stastny have had good production. He's also using Ryan Smyth correctly and it shows.
• PP. Some have complained, but the Avs basically have one point man (Liles) two wing/ setup men (Stastny and Sakic) 1 obstacle (Smytty) and one roaming sniper (Hejduk). When need-be Sakic shifts to the point. Until the last little dry spell it has paid off.
• Defense. It's not difficult to find a poorly coached defensive team. When a team starts puck-watching and puck-chasing it's a clear sign that they don't really know what to do on defense. When that team is made up of Wily veterans you know the reason for the puck chasing is because they are confused on what they should be doing. I'm starting to think the defensive problems are the result of poor/confusing coaching.
• Guite: Ben Guite should never be a healthy scratch for this team. The fact that he was in Granato's dog house, when other less productive and useful members have not is a terrible decision. The fact that he's been one as the Penalty Kill has struggled is an embarrassment to Coach G.
• The third line. Might as well start calling it the hodgepodge line, because it couldn't be any worse. It looks like a pick-up hockey line. The main problem is Arnason, but Arnason can be somewhat tolerable with the right linemates (Him Svats and Wolski last season wasn't so bad... anyone even remember that?) Arnason is not built for a line with Tuckers, David Jones, Lappy or Cody Mc's.
• PK has improved from: shameful to awful.
• Defense down low. The Achilles heel of the Avs so far in this young season has been the inability to stop anyone coming from behind the goal crease. In the devastating Calgary game, that feels like ages ago, all three Calgary goals started there. Isn't that Adam Foote's office? Why aren't the Avs playing that well?
Overall he's doing ok, but after 1 quiz I give him a C-. But there's more on the line as we approach the next quiz, so he has time to turn his grade around.
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