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Ben Kuzma: Travis Green gets recognition for guiding the tenacious Canucks



Travis Green uses honest judgment and a fair but decisive approach to guide the Canucks.

Jason Payne / PNG

The bench boss who is fair, firm, honest, and demanding has a franchise transition quickly

CALGARY – You can't cheat Stanley Cup champions.

The two-month playoff trip to the holy grail of hockey is a marathon of skill and will. Players are pushed to the limit and the coach cannot cling to the cliche. List decisions and management in the game are very important.

That is why Jay Beagle saw something special at Travis Green.

Beagle played a key support role for the Washington Capitals last spring when they finally finished championship obstacles. Coach Barry Trotz has a strong finger on the club's pulse. He put Beagle in the last minute to protect excellence in Game 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights and Beagle then set two goals in Game 3.

It reminded the center of Green Canucks in Vancouver.

"There are many things that are comparable to Trotz with the way he practices," Beagle said Saturday before facing the Calgary Flames. "This is the step. Not much water breaks, but short. You work hard and short and get the job done."

It formed the basis for Green to become a fair but firm bench boss. The battle movement and the right reading on the players were warmly welcomed by NHL colleagues. There are even preliminary talks about some of the considerations of Jack Adams Trophy about the way in which he has a franchise transition with fast forward.

Edmonton Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said the Canucks played a team game that was as good as anyone in the West with a 7-1-2 win before Saturday's test. Flames coach, Bill Peters, called the division's rivals hard-working, very organized and diligent in details.

Flattery was given when Oilers double-shifted Connor McDavid and Green to challenge the Beagle, Antoine Roussel and Tyler Motte to minimize damage. And they did it Thursday in a 4-2 victory where the Beagle played as high as 20:02.

"I didn't know anything about Travis until I came and visited," Beagle said before signing four years, US $ 12 million in a free US agent agreement July 1. "Soon, I liked the vision he had for the team, and it was something very easy for me to join.

"Many of the things I tried to do throughout my career were things he liked – details, work ethic and speed. And he is very good at reading who goes and who doesn't. Some nights you don't go and you don't play much. And if you go, you get more ice and he is just like that. It makes it easy to get out and work your hardest. "

Losing has never been easier, and one of Green's biggest tests was managing funk 1-10-2 last month. The Canucks lost eight matches with one goal but did not lose direction. They are now healthier and even more difficult to fight.

"Having good communication with your players is important," Green stressed. "I really feel like we are playing pretty good hockey, but you are worried about your team's confidence when you experience a stretch. You worry about their energy, and there is a mental side away from the arena when things don't go well … You feel the heat and you have to find victory.

"It's important that players feel comfortable with themselves when they play well and don't get results. How you talk or treat the team is different, and it can be different if I don't feel that our team is there.

"You have to reward your team. They stuck with it and pulled themselves out of the hole. "

Communication must be a two-way street with veterans. Roussel's rise after the August 30 concussion, less time in the penalty box and more busyness that resulted in Thursday's two-point match is evidence to find his way with the new coach. He has played for Bruce Cassidy, Craig MacTavish and Willie Desjardins in AHL and Glen Gulutzan, Lindy Ruff and Hitchcock in the NHL. What distinguishes Green?

"I like you really can talk to him," said Roussel. "He is close to the players and listens to them, and some people (coaches) don't have that power. And some men just stick with it instead of changing lines; and now the group is confident, he (Green) reads well. When he has trust in you, you catch him. "

Another important moment came before the season began when Green had many decisions to make. The Canucks play 1-6 in exhibition games, succeed but five goals with the same power and only 10 overall, and the biggest concern is the level of competition. Green saw it in Motte.

He decided to look at the winger harder. That is not a gift; it was a prize list after the winger was obtained February 26 from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Thomas Vanek and did an off-season job so that his speed and grit were recognized.

"He brings both elements, and that's how he makes the team and how he will stay," Green said. "He was young and there were nights when I drove a little, but he was a serious man and wanted to do it well and remember everything."

bkuzma@postmedia.com

twitter.com/benkuzma


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