|Todd Richards was an authoritative voice in his 1st practice|
It seems clear that he has changes in mind in defensive zone coverage, as well as on the offensive side. A 5 on 5 D zone drill late in the practice got spirited, and he jumped in, insisting that the players on offense not concede anything. The pace quickly picked up.
From my seat half way up the lower bowl, I could clearly hear him (and my hearing is nothing to write home about) telling the centers to 'get out there, no lazy circles' and telling them that the coverage he wanted was going to be hard work. I don't know how the players felt about it, but it was music to this fan's ears.
|Richards gets involved in a drill|
Of course, as everyone knows, RJ Umberger left practice with concussion symptoms. Another injury, during a period where they seem to happen every day. His string of consecutive games will be broken on Friday. Isn't it time the NHL started taking a hard look at the head gear the players are using? It doesn't seem to be working.
|A gratuitous pic of 15 Derek Dorsett for Alison|
|A gratuitous pic of 25 RyRuss for Dannie|
I get the feeling that having been fired once, Richards is darn sure he is going to do things his way, and get what he wants. I really liked some of his initial comments about the 'need to play defense in this league'. I couldn't agree more. This team has underperformed defensively, but they have it in them to be a good defensive team. One of Richard's prime attributes is a willingness to coach defense. I think that will take him far.
First day, first impressions. Maybe it won't go this way over the long run. But I've watched Hitchcock practices, and I've watched Arniel practices. This seemed distinctly different, and I think for the better. It bodes well for this team.