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SLBAM: Mitch talks about his new job in the Penguins organization

What’s up gang. I’d like to apologize for not doing an article last week after all.

We made our first move (I’ll tell you about it below) on Friday, September 25, and afterwards it was a bit complicated and we ran out of time.

But now I’m taking the opportunity to make up for lost time and also, because I don’t have much time left, because I’m going to have to put the whole thing on pause for the next season, given my professional commitments. Same thing with my publications on various websites, analyses and the like. But that’s all in the past.

Now for your questions

I could break your question down into three phases. The individual video, the team video and the opposing team analysis video. In real life, I could break it down even further or create subcategories for each.

The individual video is normally made quickly after a game. It all depends on whether we’re talking about two games in two nights, since the emphasis will be on something else.

But the individual video is based on the last game(s) and can be done in many different ways.

There are things you work on individually in practice where you see progress and want to show him. It could be mistakes and working on what he’s seen on the game and what you can see from another angle. So there’s an infinite possibility.

The goal is to be short and to the point. The team video, we can call it a practice video, since many coaches will film their practices and give feedback on them, because often you’ll have more rehearsals in practice and be able to show it to the players so they understand.

Alternatively, during the week or before the next game, we can show a “game review”, which means looking back on our last game, both what was good and what was lacking, to try and correct the situation.

There’s also the numerical advantage and the numerical disadvantage that can come into play here, as well as special situations and the like.

And finally, the analysis of the opposing team. It all depends on what level you’re at. A lot of coaches only look at the last game. If I take the example of when I was at university, there weren’t many teams so I was able to watch everything, which made my job easier.

At the professional level, we’re talking between one and three games. It also depends on the schedule and the workload. For example, in the ECHL, sometimes we can play three games in three nights, or even four games in five nights, against different teams.

At a certain point, there’s just not enough time.

We also keep all the material we do during the season, so we can go back and easily see what we’ve done and what we’ve written down. That can be a big help.

And normally, on weeknights, we’ll watch the league games, so sometimes we can see something else and write it down too.

So as you can see, we watch our team for the most part and then our next opponent. It’s rare that we’ll watch other teams in the league, except after the season.

Example: Team X had the best numerical advantage. We’ll go and dissect their numerical advantage to see why it’s good, same thing with zone entries or whatever. We actually did this with Pittsburgh last week during our week with them.

It depends on which way you ask the question. Are you talking about the other coaches or the players?

If you’re talking between coaches. Normally there are no questions because you’ve had several meetings beforehand and you’re ready for camp. In fact, your camp is usually close from day one to the last day. Meetings, PowerPoints, practice sessions, etc. are already prepared with your coaching staff.

For example, last week I was in Boston with the entire Pittsburgh Penguins organization. We went through every possible system, with all the PowerPoint, all the analysis.

So, when day one of training camp arrives, everyone is ready, all the video sessions and so on are ready.

But also, the coaching staff needs to come up with what went wrong last year on the ice, what the coaches should have worked on better, but above all, come up with solutions and not wait for the camp to start or end and start the whole thing.

Players want solutions to problems. That’s what training camp is for too.

The better you can manage the training camp, the better the follow-up – and the better the response you’ll get from the players.

So the first questions will be very selective, but it’s about getting everyone pulling in the same direction. Even the foundations for next season are in place, and to establish them immediately in training camp with solutions from the coaches.

I mentioned in my last article not to be surprised to see Danièle Sauvageau at the new league level. It hasn’t been a secret for a long time, and the same goes for the coach who will be named soon. No need to read between the lines either.

I’m very happy for Pascal Daoust, who will have the chance to go back and forth between Montreal and New York to play field hockey. It’s not flat.

This means that in the space of a few days, three current or former members of the Montreal Carabins have climbed the highest rungs and made the leap into the professional world of field hockey.

The Carabins boast not only an excellent program for players, but also for coaches and managers. Having Danièle as GM was the one and only thing to do.

A field hockey head like her, you can’t pass that up, even less so for women’s field hockey.

What she wants and proposes is what women’s field hockey needs. I can’t wait to see what happens next, but above all, I can’t wait to watch the first game. I can imagine that there will be a lot of people, not only on site, but sitting in their living rooms watching the first game.

As for Pascal, who was my “boss” for one QMJHL draft, he’s got a lot of experience at both men’s and women’s level, and he was a GM in the QMJHL for a long time. So we’re talking about a major addition to the league.

New York will be able to take advantage of it and come out a winner.

Wheeling is completely north of West Virginia, in the Upper Point. From Wheeling, when you cross the bridge to the left of Wheeling, you arrive in Ohio and about 20 minutes to the east, you arrive in Pennsylvania.

Wheeling is the ECHL home of the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL).

Unlike many organizations, the Penguins take us under their wings at all times, 12 months a year. They involve us in just about everything, and the same goes for our AHL team. You can’t put a price on that.

I’ll come back to this later with more details and information, but we’re only two coaches, Derek (the head coach) and me, who’s an assistant coach. My role will be to look after the defensemen and the numerical disadvantage.

In practice, we share a lot of the same things in terms of systems, individual development and so on.

I’ll be responsible for analyzing opposing teams. Off the ice, there are only two of us, so we have to share the job or work together.

So we look at free agents, or league players for signings or trades. So I also do scouting and analysis.

In the ECHL, we don’t have the personnel like the LAH or NHL, so we have to work a lot harder. But I don’t hate it, because it allows me to learn the league faster and get a good idea.

I have no choice but to put in a good word. The news is finally out, and it’s all happened so fast I don’t have time to breathe yet.

The reality of professional jobs in North America is that everything happens very late (which is normal, because the seasons start later), so you often have to leave your current team, while you’re in the middle of preparing.

Our training camp starts on October 9, by the way. The NHL training camp starts on September 15.

Once everything was official, there was no time to lose. Sending work visa paperwork, which took 10 days since they’d cleared it with Pittsburgh. Then, school here started on August 22. And for me, it was I’ll go if the family comes.

If the family doesn’t come, I’m not going and I’m staying in Quebec, that’s all. So we didn’t want to arrive for the week of September 10, for the Pittsburgh Penguins training camp, and have the kids miss several weeks of school.

But we don’t have a house. So the organization lent us two lofts in town to stay in until we find something. We’ve found a house that will be ready on September 15, so in the meantime, we have to travel with the kids to school, since we’ll be staying in Ohio.

I’m not even talking about all the things we have to do in Quebec with our house, insurance, getting through customs and so on.

We left with our two cars at 5 a.m. on August 25. In my Tesla, there was me. In our Town and Country van, my wife, the four kids, our two dogs and three cats… Yes, there are a lot of us.

With stops and all, we arrived at 9pm. The drive was great, and everyone had a blast.

I had to get there quickly too, because the following Monday, I was off to Boston for the week. Every year, the Pittsburgh Penguins organize a development and improvement week for all the organization’s coaches (NHL, AHL, ECHL).

Basically, we prepared for training camp, we analyzed the system of play that will be used this year and what was lacking last year and what could be improved.

Not to mention the fact that in the evenings, we made the most of it by going to see the Red Sox in a skybox, if not on a boat cruise or on a tour of Boston. No, I still can’t get over the week I spent with Sully, Todd, Mike, Ty’s and everyone else.

Anyway, I have to come back to Montreal when our house is ready to make our real move, because without a work visa, you can’t cross customs with your household stuff. So it’ll be a second move in such a short time.

Ready to go to camp in Pittsburgh, then Wilkes and then Wheeling.


A long text, and one of my last since I’ll be very quiet next season with my new job. I’m not closed to the idea of maybe doing a column a month. We’ll see.

Until then, enjoy and we’ll talk again @Mitch_Giguere.

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