The Avs Big 3. Why so good?
I always remember an old coach saying that it’s all about building in 2’s. Building in 2’s you might be asking? Let me explain. He felt that building a line combination with 2 players that had chemistry was all it took. The 3rd member of the line could move in and out and act as more of a supporting role through the lineup. So, he always built his line combo’s in 2’s and was able to plan matchup’s accordingly with his 3rd player. But how about in those rare instances when you can build in 3’s? That’s exactly what’s going on in Colorado right now with the superstar line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog.
For people in the East, the Avs are a little bit out there, a little too far West should we say. But slowly and surely the Avs big unit are getting more and more press. Backed by Sidney Crosby protégé and Cole Harbour, NS native, “Mack” has turned into one of the best and most exciting players in the league. It doesn’t stop there. Finish big body “Ranto” is one of the best puck protectors and that I’ve ever worked with and Swedish perennial “Landy” reminds me in play and in character to our first ever NHL client, Mike Fisher. Fish and Landy are some of the best leader’s I’ve worked with along with Montreal Canadiens newly appointed captain, Shea Weber. We’ve been so blessed to serve alongside these awesome leaders.
But really, the Avs top line why so good? Well first let’s keep building the story. To put things into perspective, Mack, Landy and Ranto are either tied or have more goals combined so far this season then 10 teams in the league. Yes 10! It’s actually unreal. A team like the Edmonton Oilers with superstar Connor McDavid has a total of just 13 GF so far this season. The NHL is a tough league to score in, the Avs big 3 are just too good. And it just keeps going, Ranto is tied for the league lead in points with 16, Mack and Landy are second in goals with 8 each, Landy leads the league in plus minus with a rocking +12, Ranto is +11, and just as an FYI the whole line is a crushing +22. Matchups? Bring it on. The Avs big 3 see the other team’s top D pairing and top Forward lines every night. In those matchups alone they’ve completely dominated the best opposition to the tune of +15. They’re just too much to handle. And count on this, it’s not going to stop. They are only getting started. Mack is 24, Ranto is 21 and Landy is 25. What we could be witnessing is the beginning of the next new era dominant line of the decade, think Legion of Doom squared! That’s the big line for the Philadelphia Flyers from 1995-1997 that completely dominated their opposition, the Avs big 3 are similar with a silky finesse and speed to match the game’s new wave.
Again, why so good? One word. Everything. They do it all. Speed, skill, IQ, size, puck support, playing fast, quick hands, physical, detailed, finish, big plays, rush, OZ, traffic, you name it, they do it. And you know what is really crazy, their individual talents all blend into a perfect weave of weaponry on the ice. They know their buddies next step, they already know the next move, where he is going to go and they just play off instinct. Pure bliss, surreal, pure FUN! It’s amazing and so fun to watch.
To give you guys a little context and some takeaway for your game, all successful trio’s do one thing and do it really well. Puck support. In the case of the Avs big 3, they are just so good at giving their teammate options. More options equal more opportunities to make plays and better ones too.
Contrary to popular belief, puck support, really doesn’t involve the puck at all. It involves your play without it. It has more to do with your IQ. One of the biggest things we see with young athletes is their lack of ability to play without the puck. It’s a huge skill that the hockey community has totally left behind. But it’s so important, more important than being able to stick handle in a phone booth or blast a 1T 90+. Young athletes need to be reminded that supporting the puck at the right time leads to more puck touches and more puck touches as a whole leads to more possession which leads to increased chances to score. Doing this with perfect timing and blazing speed amplifies the success. Imagine 3 guys on the same line doing that? All in sync, flying around the ice. It’s just too tough to contain, just like the Avs big 3.
So, players and parents out there. Working on fundamental skating and skills is great. I mean that’s how we started Perfect Skating but let’s be honest, it’s fundamental. It’s a base layer which is why we, like the game itself, continue to develop. Seek out programming that goes deeper, that understands intangibles and has a history of increasing functional in-game performance!
So, stick handling in a phone booth or puck support? Choose puck support every time and go be like Mack, Ranto and Landy. You’ll never have more FUN!