Adjustments Each PWHL Team Needs to Make After the International Break

The international break provided a great chance to see what's working, and what's not, for each PWHL team.

Adjustments Each PWHL Team Needs to Make After the International Break
Credit: Michelle Jay

It’s felt like a mad dash to the start of the season that hasn’t stopped even once the season got started and only now could everyone take a breath.

For some people in the PWHL, the non-stop preparation for the season has been a six-month long period. For management of the six PWHL teams, they’ve had a few months, at most, to put together staff and a team ready for opening week. For the players, the challenge was getting up to game speed after having not played any consistent hockey since March/April 2023. For management and coaching staffs, the challenge is turning a group of +20 players into a team that pulls the rope in the same direction.

The general managers and coaches came into this season as blind as can be. They had no idea how play in the PWHL was going to look, which players were going to thrive, which would struggle out of the gate, who would struggle to adapt with such a high talent floor, and what strategies would work best for the line-ups.

You know the saying “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”? That was on the minds of the management/coaching staffs for each PWHL team coming into the season. You weren’t getting a team where even 40% of the team had played together previously. You had no idea what the general play of the PWHL was going to look like. All they could do was jump feet first into the season and hope they didn’t drown before the international break.

It's been a somewhat even start to the season for every team. No one team has pulled away from everyone else or been completely left behind the pack looking at a first overall pick already. Obviously some teams have had it easier than others such as Montréal and Minnesota whose superstars are leading the way. Then there’s Toronto who is having to fight tooth and nail for every point they’ve gotten so far, nothing easy is happening for them.

Still though in the current PWHL point system no one can feel safe when every regulation win is worth three points and quite a few games are going to overtime. That’s why PWHL management and coaches across the league are grateful for this break in games so they can take a minute to give the past month the retrospective it needs to ensure future success. During the first month of the season it’s been all about preparing for the next game and making small adjustments. This break is now allowing teams to look further ahead but also look in detail at the first month and a bit of the season. The question every team is looking at right now is what does their team need for sustained success for the next stretch of the season?

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