I have been thinking about them for awhile now so I am going to share them with other fans.
- get the puck to Kyle Wilhelm in the prime scoring areas. Tell him not to try and carry the puck so much. Let McParland and Trichilo do it. They do it better. Get himself into scoring position for some garbage around the net like he did when Kennedy was here. Wilhelm is a pure scorer with great hands and a quick release. But he's better once he's established a open position in the opposing end. On the fly he cannot use that great shot as well.
- play the kidline of '94 Mossman, '94 Tutton and '95 Tonge more. They are ready. By developing them now, they could make a difference when we get into the playoffs. That is the time top guys usually get cancelled out by the other team's top guys. If you don't have a third and fourth line playing with confidence by then, you'll find yourself playing a short bench too often when the games are close because there's no confidence in the third and fourth lines. Burn out is usually the result.
- begin to establish a shutdown pair of defencemen and give them full responsibility for shutting down/containing the other team's top guys. Make sure everybody knows who they are so you can get them out on the fly if need be. It goes for checking forwards too. If they are given full responsibility for shutdown duty, they'll take pride in the job and do it with a full commitment.
- though the players may like playing with regular linemates, don't be afraid to mix them up once in awhile. It does two things. It could light a fire under some of them and it could be useful down the road when matchups are so important in the playoffs. By mixing them up they are not so easy for other teams to match up.
- I know Trichilo and McParland love to play with each other. So too, do Nanne and Schug. But for the most part they do play with each other on the same lines. By breaking them up once in awhile, they need to know that breaking them up isn't necessarily because they are not doing anything well together. It could be for match ups. If they know it, then they can deal with it and play.
- establish one breakout play and have several guys designated to start it everytime. I remember a fellow by the name of Gerry a coach in midget with my son. He had it down to a fine art and the team used it successfully nearly every time. The other teams may have known what it was but they couldn't stop it successfully simply because it was so well executed. It came with repetition in practice.
- the shifts are too long. Establish getting the puck in deep everytime and chasing it with one guy. Change the other two forwards and when the play comes back up ice have the third forward change. Many OHL teams do this.
- make sure the timeout gets used every game. Do not simply save it for the last minute of play. It can be used for a lot of things. To rest guys after icings, to go over defensive assignments on the defensive faceoffs, and to ensure you get the single point after coming back from a game deficit are a few examples.
- make sure that lines and D are established and ready to take defensive zone faceoffs. Players scrambling around at the last second as the puck is dropped isn't conducive to winning defensive zone faceoffs letting your team start with the puck.
- Geoff Gallagher has a great shot and quick release. Tell him to use it more often. And he can shoot on the move very well. Unlike others who are better from a more stationary position because he skates so well.
This is the guy linemates Pat George and Casey Cook need to get the puck to in the neutral and offensive ends of the ice. I really believe this guy is underachieving and has a lot more to offer than what we've seen thus far.