Dave Tippett is known for getting the most out of his players in the NHL, and he’ll be counted on to do the same as Team Canada’s coach at the upcoming world championship.
Tippett, whose Phoenix Coyotes narrowly missed the playoffs, was named to that post Wednesday and will be joined by assistants Peter DeBoer of the New Jersey Devils and Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets. It’ll be up to that staff to try to make the most of a roster that won’t be as star-studded as the group that won gold at the Sochi Olympics.
“That’s the exciting thing for me is to try to get players in, get them in roles and get them in situations where they can succeed at,” Tippett said in a phone interview. “That’s always been our philosophy in Phoenix is we might not be a cap team, but we got players that can do jobs in certain areas and really excel at it.
“Once the team gets settled in here we’ll try to figure out where everybody kind of fits, but that’s one of the challenges, whether you’ve got young players or veteran players or superstar players, is getting your group together and getting them all in situations where they can play well.”
This Canadian team will include David Perron of the Edmonton Oilers, Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames, Morgan Rielly and James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs, among others who have already confirmed they’ll go to Minsk, Belarus, for next month’s tournament.
There isn’t Olympic experience there, but Jason Chimera of the Washington Capitals was there in 2007 when Canada last won gold at the world championship, and Reimer went 4-0 at the 2011 tournament.
Tippett, from Moosomin, Sask., was an assistant coach in 2009 and 2013, and DeBoer, from Waterloo, Ont., was on staff in 2010 and 2011. Maurice, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has experience with the bigger, international-sized ice surface from coaching in the KHL.
There’s a certain style of play that has come to be expected from Tippett-coached teams. The ice means there are some adjustments, but don’t anticipate that changing too much.
“There’s some things that you have to be aware of: spacing and sometimes running around where you’ve got to be a little more position,” Tippett said. “I think the Canadian teams that have done well over there have gone over and played a real simple, hard, Canadian style of hockey. Those are principles that we want to put into place.”
One challenge for Tippett is to do that with just a couple of days of practice in Zurich.
“You’ve got to get everybody on the same page as quick as you can,” he said. “I know every Canadian team that goes over there, it’s about continuing to try to improve as the tournament moves on.”
Tippett wants to get a team mind-set in place right away. Don’t be surprised if it mirrors what Team Canada did in February.
“We’re very fortunate,” Tippett said. “We have a very good template just from a few months ago of the Olympic teams.”
The IIHF world hockey championship runs from May 9-25 in Minsk.