Welcome Matt: Brind'Amour blueprint could be a good one for Tocchet's Canucks to follow

May 25 2023, 10:25 pm

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The Carolina Hurricanes are done playing hockey this season, but watching them march to the Eastern Conference final had me wondering if there’s a blueprint there for the Canucks.

No, not in terms of personnel or salary structure, but in identity.

Under head coach Rod Brind’Amour of Campbell River, the Hurricanes might have the most defined identity in the league. They play a certain way and there’s no room for deviation.

It’s the type of culture you can hear strands of when Canucks coach Rick Tocchet talks about what he’s trying to build.

In Carolina’s case, they are dedicated to forechecking, then immediate movement of the puck once recovered, then getting the puck to the net-front area. It’s their philosophy, it’s their brand, it’s what they do and every player is crystal clear with it.

I’m not sure the Canucks will be quite as systematic in how they play under Tocchet — and with improvisors like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes you might want to give them more freedom — but Brind’Amour has demanded physical fitness and commitment from his players to a level that has gotten as much out of his talent as any coach in the league.

And Carolina, with wildcat owner Tom Dundon, turned into one of the best franchises in the league, in part because Dundon has let it be known that Brind’Amour isn’t going anywhere, meaning players have to tow coach’s line.

So when the Canucks talk about “structure, habits, standard” such as in that promotional video for next season, they’re talking about developing what Carolina already has.

Matthew SekeresMatthew Sekeres

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