Dominic Ducharme was leading only his fourth training session as interim coach for the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, but said he was way ahead of schedule when he was promoted last week.
Even if the Canadian lost their first two matches under his leadership, the Quebec coach said he was happy with the progress of his forces.
“I thought it would take longer to create certain things,” he said in a video conference on Monday. Men show that they have the best team at heart. They are committed to applying modifications to our game.
“I already knew we had a good group. Today I am more convinced that this group will be successful.”
Ducharme made it clear last week that it does not have a game system, but rather rules to follow and frameworks in which players can express themselves.
Players have quizzed Monday about Ducharme’s adjustments and are still reporting several changes to Canadian game systems.
Defensman Joel Edmundson said the Hulk is less stringent in area defense and players can follow the opponent if they rise to the blue line in a man-to-man defense.
“You have to read the game and modify it while sending a signal to your teammates,” Edmundson said. Since the start of the season, we haven’t talked much about ice. Dominic stresses the importance of good communication in the heat of the moment. I think we talked a lot in the last game. ”
For his part, Jonathan Drouin indicated that the wingers had to retreat in their area and cut off play towards the besieged area, which has often hurt confinement so far this season.
Drouin was also questioned whether Ducharme had given his players more freedom in attack than his predecessor, Claude Julian.
Darwin insisted: “Like all coaches, he (Julian) wants you to fulfill your responsibilities in defense, but he hasn’t stopped us from expressing ourselves when you attack.”
“With Dominic, there are also things that you can or cannot do. There are things that must be respected before you can be creative.”
Drwin also believes that the adjustments Ducharme made in the transition game will help the team attack quickly, as well as provide better support for defenders during withdrawal.
Drouin had known Ducharme with Halifax Moss Heads in the Junior Hockey League Major between 2011 and 2014.
He noted that one of the unchanged points in Ducharme’s philosophy was his insistence on creating one-to-one situations across the ice.
“You don’t want to be one-on-one, except maybe in some places in the offensive zone where that’s okay,” Darwin explained. If you’ve been supported by a teammate and lost the disk, you have someone to help you get it back. It makes the game easier. Even in the defensive zone, if your teammate grabs the disc, you are there as a pass option.
“We always want to have a supportive fellow everywhere on the ice. He provides gaming options. He will help our game if we can put that mindset into practice.”
Ducharme, for his part, clarified another aspect of his coaching philosophy on Monday after Drouin revealed that he was sometimes giving different instructions for his lines according to the strengths of his players.
“As a team, we have a way of thinking, for example, an offensive way. Within that, each line contains different tools that they can use to generate an attack,” Ducharme said.
“In short: we have a philosophy, what we want to create. From this standpoint, every individual or trio is encouraged to express gratitude for their strength.”
With Canadians’ busy schedule, Ducharme has made it clear that he will try to reduce the time on the ice, but ensure the pace is high during training. He also said he would focus on the special teams during training on the morning of the match.
“We are trying to make progress in all aspects of the game, but we will deal with the issues one by one,” he concluded.