Jared Bednar has some catching up to do.
Hired by the Colorado Avalanche two weeks after the abrupt resignation of former head coach Patrick Roy, the new bench boss is getting straight to work following his formal introduction in Denver on Wednesday.
First up will be watching video with a view to uncovering what he needs to address in training camp to get the most out of the team's core players.
"There's going to be definite changes and I want to know what (the players) are used to so if things are going on on the ice maybe they're in habits that they're used to and I want it done a different way," Bednar said, according to Rick Sadowski of NHL.com. "And just to familiarize myself with players in certain situations, specialty teams and whatnot."
The possession game is one area that's clearly in need of improvement, as evidenced by Colorado's 29th-ranked cumulative Corsi For rating of 44.74 in five-on-five play over the past three seasons, according to Corsica Hockey.
"The biggest thing for me is working as a group of five," Bednar said. "One of the big keys for me to being a good possession team is you've got to touch the puck first. I think there's times when you're arriving in your (defensive) zone where you have an opportunity to go and touch the puck first and put it in an area where your team knows it's going, and you can all be on the same page and there's a plan there that our coaches put in place so we can exit our zone."
A similar "touch first" philosophy in the offensive zone (in the event of a dump-in) and better organization through the neutral zone in order to move the puck up the ice quickly and effectively were among the other keys Bednar cited to becoming a positive possession team.
It's late in the offseason to be starting his tasks, but Bednar appears to have a level-headed approach to a whirlwind August. While he's achieved his goal of becoming a head coach at the NHL level, the career minor-leaguer coach acknowledged he hasn't arrived at the ultimate destination quite yet.
"To me, this is just another step. Coaching the Avalanche isn't the be-all and the end-all for me. It's the success that I want to have, and I want our team to have here in Denver. That's the ultimate goal. I think that getting here is certainly achieving something, but it's what you do when you're here that's more important."
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