Newspaper article The Canadian Press

On-the-Job-Training: Vancouver Canucks Learning on the Fly under John Tortorella

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

On-the-Job-Training: Vancouver Canucks Learning on the Fly under John Tortorella

Article excerpt

Canucks learning on the fly under Tortorella

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VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks spent the pre-season learning new head coach John Tortorella's system.

Now that the games count in the standings, they're taking part in some on-the-job training.

Tortorella has implemented a more aggressive, puck-pressure style with Vancouver and he watched the Canucks succeed at it for stretches in Thursday's season-opening 4-1 loss to the Sharks in San Jose.

"Our goal as coaches is that you want (the system) to be instinctive eventually. That will take some time," Tortorella said after Friday's brief practice at Rogers Arena. "(Against San Jose) I think we had some good minutes of how we wanted to play. So I think (the players) know how to play.

"It's just a matter of doing it consistently."

Canucks centre Ryan Kesler said the team needs to get a grasp on the system quickly, beginning with Saturday's home opener against the Edmonton Oilers, if it's going to compete in the realigned and more competitive Pacific Division.

"We have to learn fast. We've got to get these points. These points are going to be important for us and the end of the year," Kesler said. "I thought we did a good job for a large part of the (San Jose) game."

He added it's not simply understanding the system, but believing in it.

"I think we've got to trust each other, that's the big thing. We've got to trust each other that we're going to work hard," Kesler said. "We can only be aggressive if that happens.

"As a group we have (the system) locked down, it's just a game of mistakes. Sometimes you make the wrong read and it's an outnumbered rush. Things like that are going to happen."

Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa said no one in the locker-room expected the change to Tortorella's style from that of former coach Alain Vigneault to be seamless.

"You can't think that it's going to be perfected in the first game of the season. …

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