“I like the way he [Green] does that in practice and I think the guys appreciate that as well,” Baumgartner says. “He’s not barking to give the guys crap, he’s just telling them to move their feet. It’s all about habits and the way we want to play. We always talk about playing fast and playing quick and when you hear him yelling at guys out there, that’s what he’s trying to do. It’s all about the details. If you start a drill and make a bad pass, he blows it down and makes you do it again. I think as a player it makes you pay attention more. If you’re second in line, you’re watching what’s going on and you’re going next and you don’t want to screw up.”
Described as passionate and intense by Canuck players who are still learning daily about the man in charge, Green gets the last say on coaching decisions. But Baumgartner insists that behind the scenes the Canucks are anything but a one-man show. With Newell Brown, Doug Jarvis, Manny Malhotra and Dan Cloutier rounding out the staff, Baumgartner says Green is open to ideas and very much wants feedback from those around him.
“As a coaching staff, we all have our input and he wants to hear what we have to say,” adds Baumgartner, who will handle the Canucks defence and oversee the penalty killing. “Ultimately, in the end, it’s his call but he takes what we say into consideration and listens to us and he’s got trust in us. And that’s good. You have to have that as a leader. You have to trust the people you work with.”
It seems Green wants those bonds of trust to extend beyond the coaches and to the locker room. The time and effort he has put in with individuals in Utica, whether it’s Jordan Subban or Jake Virtanen, has helped the development of both players. Baumgartner knows much has been made of those two examples, but is quick to add there are plenty of other players who have benefited from dedicated one-on-one time with Green on the ice and in the video room.
As the Canucks launch into the 2017-18 season with a new coaching staff and a new vision for the hockey club, Baumgartner recognizes the work that must be done. He and Green are taking over a team that has finished 28th and 29th in the NHL standings the past two seasons, one that has struggled to score and has had all sorts of challenges on special teams. There is plenty of work to be done.
Like the Canucks organization as a whole, Baumgartner believes Green is up to the task. And he feels strongly that through a tough training camp and the preseason there has already been a shift in the way the club is going about its business.
“I think we can surprise some people,” he predicts. “We know we were successful down in the minors with how we ran things and how we pushed the guys and how we wanted them to play. If we have that total buy-in from everybody, we will have success. And hey, it may not be this year, but you will see us take steps forward this year. And then maybe it’s the next year that we start humming along. It’s going to take some time to get going in the direction we want to go.
I think around our staff right now, we think we’ve taken a small step forward through training camp and we’re all excited to get going here.”
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