Jared Bednar wants to 'attack' with 'up-tempo' style in Colorado

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Bednar
Bednar

The Colorado Avalanche brought in Jared Bednar as head coach not just for his winning pedigree, but also because of his strategy as a bench boss.

Bednar, who was hired Thursday morning, said he likes to push an attack mostly based on speed and pressuring the puck. The team believes will mesh will with fleet-footed forwards like Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene.

“I have a style of play I think works in today’s game,” Bednar said in a conference call with reporters. “I think you have to be an aggressive team. I think you have to – the game is getting faster every day. You have to play an up-tempo style. You have to attack. That’s not just offensively but defensively as well. I think that for us should be set from Day One in training camp – the tempo and the pace we play with and the aggressive style I would like to play. I think that’s something you start Day One in training camp and keep trying to improve and keep trying to get better in those areas every day and throughout the course of a season so your team gets better and faster as the year goes on.”

After Patrick Roy left the organization on Aug. 11, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic spoke with candidates with varying types of experience to try to figure out who fit best with the team. According to the Denver Post, the Avs had interest in San Jose Sharks assistant Bob Boughner, Chicago Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen, Bednar, Washington Capitals assistant Lane Lambert, Utica Comets coach Travis Green and New York Rangers assistant Scott Arniel.

Both Dineen and Arniel had been NHL head coaches before. Bednar and Green had no NHL coaching experience. Boughner and Lambert both only had NHL experience as assistants though both had been head coaches at different levels of hockey.

“We didn’t want to just limit ourselves to one certain style of coach. I wanted to see what was out there,” Sakic said.

As of Wednesday, Sakic said he was down to two candidates. When he woke up Thursday, he had decided to offer the job to Bednar, who won the AHL’s Calder Cup last season with the Lake Erie Monsters – the farm team of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bednar owns a 251-158-42 (.603) record as a head coach, which includes two seasons in the ECHL.

“I know from talking to a lot of different people that he’s a very demanding coach but fair to the players and the players respect that and they play for him,” Sakic said. “The way he asks his teams to play the game, I think it’s a real good fit for our group.”

Bednar stayed away from any grand predictions for the upcoming season with the team. He said he’s watched a bunch of Colorado’s games and believes his coaching style can help several players reach their potential.

Even though the Avs have struggled of late, they have a young core that has high-end skill.

Duchene scored 30 goals last season and had 70 points two seasons ago. MacKinnon was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft and still has loads of promise. As an 18-year-old rookie he won the Calder Trophy with 63 points in 82 games. Captain Gabriel Landeskog is just 23 and has notched between 52 and 65 points in each of his full seasons.

“I think it’s a group of forwards who can especially be dynamic guys who play fast and I see it as it being a good fit as well,” Bednar said. “Like I mentioned earlier, the league is getting faster every day and we have to find a way to put a structure in place that gets these guys playing an up-tempo style so they have support all over the ice as well to kind of bring the group together and move forward from there.”

Roy, a Hockey Hall of Famer who won two Stanley Cups as the Avs’ goaltender, was hired before the 2013-14 season and led the Avalanche to a Central Division title and 52-22-8 record. That year Roy won the Jack Adams Award, given to the NHL’s coach of the year.

Since then the team failed to make the playoffs and last season, Colorado dropped to 82 points in their worst showing with Roy. Overall the Avalanche has missed the postseason five of the last six years.

Bednar will certainly have his work cut out for him without a full summer to prepare for training camp. But he stills thinks there’s enough time to get up to speed in time for the upcoming season.

“It’s probably not the ideal situation but I’ll rely on the coaching staff that’s in place and the management team and get into Denver as quickly as possible and utilize everyone’s expertise and their experience in a lot of those areas and help us get organized here as quickly as possible,” Bednar said. “We still have a significant amount of time before camp opens and I think there’s plenty of time here to get organized and get prepared for that. I’ll spend my time familiarizing myself with not only digging deeper into the players and how we want to play, but talking with those guys and getting their expertise and opinions on everything as we put our plan together going into training camp.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!