HC DAVOS – Analysis of the 2018-19 season
Davos had one of the most disappointing seasons of their history. Therefore, it’s safe to say that… “it’s finally over”! You can now look to the future.
Before looking to the future, however, we want to analyze this 2018-19 season. We all knew it was a complicated one… more complicated compared to the recent part. But frankly speaking, did you really expect that Davos’ season could turn into a complete disaster?
It was thought, perhaps naively, that Arno Del Curto could pull yet another rabbit out of a hat for the umpteenth time. And instead, there were no rabbits… and, starting from late November, there was not even Del Curto, as him and the club decided to part ways after 22 seasons.
Seasons like the last one can happen, therefore we think there is no need to make a fuss. The truth is, moreover, that when things go wrong from the start, you enter a negative vortex of emotions that overtakes you and makes your life so darn difficult. We mean, it’s difficult to react especially mentally. And especially for a team like Davos who is used to battle for the title.
From the very beginning then, Davos complicated their own life. See how the whole “Senn and Van Pottelberghe” situation was handled that led to the signing of Anders Lindbäck. See also the departure of Shane Prince after only 16 games.
But let us say one more time, it’s finally over!
Now it’s time to plan the future. A future that not necessarily must be less successful. Davos are still an attractive team and a coveted place to play hockey. Davos are still a glorious club with a great past and the ability to build a good future.
We mean, Davos is always Davos. A team who had a catastrophic season in terms of results, but also a team who can make its fans dream again very soon!
THE REGULAR SEASON
Two defeats suffered against Lugano and Ambrì-Piotta… two wins earned against Rapperswil and Zug… we mean, Davos got off to a normal start of the season. Then, however, it all went south. The Ibexes lost 12 of the following 17 games until the moment Arno Del Curto and the club decided to part ways. But it was already too late to turn things around. We mean, it’s safe to say that Davos never kick started their season for real. Davos delivered even some good performances now and then, and they improved as the season went on. But essentially, the 11th final place at the end of the Regular Season made sense.
THE POST SEASON
Davos had a horrible Ranking Round during which they won only 1 game and suffered 5 defeats. But it was a meaningless Ranking Round. As the season went on, anyway, Davos’ target became “survival”… and then we can say that the mission has been accomplished since the Ibexes won the Playout Final 4-1 against Rapperswil.
Let’s see few things that in our opinion worked well and few things that didn’t work at all.
As the season went on, and in light of the results, Davos’ seasonal target became survival. In this regard, the goal has been achieved. Point. It’s true that the Playout Final was meaningless since Langenthal decided not to play the League Qualification series… but Vitolins’ troops earned their survival thanks to a real win and this is important.
Davos have been very effective during power-play situations throughout the whole season. Davos’ roster was a quality one, after all. And let us not forget that the Ibexes turned out to be even solid penalty killers.
We can’t say that Davos’ away record has been outstanding in every way… but the away results were decent. The Ibexes finished their Regular Season with the 8th best away record of the National League. Moreover, they even won two times out of two in Rapperswil during the Playout Final.
As the season went on, several young players had the chance to play for the first team and most of them had a great impact. They brought in enthusiasm and grit. And they made clear that Davos’ future is not that black, after all…
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Davos finished the Regular Season 11th placed. They had the second worst offensive record and the worst defensive record together with Rapperswil. Frankly speaking, we think that these data speak for themselves. Do we have to say more? The results have been negative. Point.
Davos finished the Regular Season with the worst home record of the league. 25 games, 7 wins (including an overtime one and a shootouts one) and 18 (!) losses. The team earned a total of 19 points. Even Rapperswil (24) earned more points in front of their fans. Things have improved during the second part of the season… but it’s impossible to forget that Davos lost 11 of their first 12 home games.
Face-off are potentially a pivotal play during a hockey game. For hundreds of reasons. Well, in this regard, Davos were not good enough… the Ibexes had a 47.7% face-offs efficiency, only Bienne had a worst one. Among the players who took regularly face-offs, only Enzo Corvi (56%) and Perttu Lindgren (52%), had a positive figure.
Way too often, it looked like Davos were unable to overcome adversity. Way too often, the Ibexes went behind in the score and were forced to chase their oppponents. Way too often, the Ibexes have suffered embarassing defeats. All this, led the players to enter a negative vortex of emotions from which is so darn difficult to get out. We mean, mentally and emotionally, Davos had a hellish season.
THE 3 STARS OF THE SEASON
Harijs Vitolins (Coach)
Jarjis Vitolins had the difficult task of replacing Del Curto. Yet, he did a strong work! Bit by bit, he’s been able to make Davos more solid in the defensive zone… Bit by bit, he’s been able to rebuild the players’ self-confidence… finally, always bit by bit, he helped the team to survive and that was his mission. Vitolins’ job wasn’t easy… but he adapted very well to the situation and did what he had to do. Let us not forget, moreover, that he gave space to several young players who are the future of Davos!
Captain Andres Ambühl was always the last one to “abandon ship”. He’s always putting his lifeblood into the games and he’s been an example to follow. He’s 35 but it looks like he’s got the strength of a kid. He’s still a vital player for Davos. Andres did his job both during the Regular Season and the Post Season. He’s immortal!
Perttu Lindgren is pure class… finally he had a season almost injury-free and he could collect 41 appearances, during which he tallied 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) that made him Davos’ Regular Sesaon’s Top Scorer. Also Perttu Lindgred did his job… even if it’s difficult to make the difference during such a complicated season.
Yannick Frehner played his first full season with Davos – if we exclude a couple of appearances with the Ticino Rockets – and he’s been a nice surprise. As the season went on, Vitolins gave hime more and more time on ice. He deseved it! This guy is 21 years old and is very talented. We can’t wait to watch him next season!
THE SPECIAL MENTION
The 21 years old Benjamin Baumgartner is the perfect image of the future of Davos! He made his National League debut during the Regular Season and then played a key role during the Post Season. Benjamin had immediately a great impact and he is a precious jem to keep an eye on!
THE SEASON IN NUMBERS – THE STATS
GOALS FOR & GOALS AGAINST
As we outlined before, Davos had the second worst offensive record and the worst defensive record of the league. It’s interesting to look at the chart since you can note how the Ibexes conceded way too many goals during the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of the games. This is a problem linked to the physical condition and the mental toughness.
SHOTS & SHOTS AGAINST
As a trend, Davos never shot more than their opponents. Morevoer, they had to face way too many shots during the first two periods of play. Also this demonstrates that oftentimes the Ibexes have been put under pressure at the beginning and then were forced to chase their opponents.
SCORING & SAVING PERCENTAGE
Davos’ scoring percentage was good both during the Regular Season and the Post Season. But that’s not a surprise… the Ibexes didn’t lack of good players able to put the puck in the net, after all. The overall saving percentage instead, was only decent during the Regular Season and it even worsened during the Post Season.
POWER-PLAY & PENALTY-KILLING
As we’ve already said, Davos had a good power-play efficiency. Moreover, the Ibexes turned out to be some solid penalty killers too, especially during the Post Season.
During the Regular Season Davos had less puck possession in percentage compared to their opponents. During the Post Sesason instead, the Corsi Index was good. We mean, the team did its job during the last part of the season.
Finally it’s over. Finally it’s over a season that, metaphorically, was one of those to forget. In truth instead, this was a season to never forget. Even if only because it made clear that it doesn’t take much to fall from grace…
The future, however, is not as black as it seems. The divorce with Del Curto opens new scenarios that are not necessarily negatives. Moreover, the Ibexes have already made clear that they can count on several fresh-faced young talent ready to take the team to the next level.
Sure, it will probably take a while before we will see Davos fighting for the title again. We’re pretty sure though, that with a couple of good import players Davos can make the playoffs already the next season.
Right now it’s time to relax, especially from the mental point of view. Then, it will be time to work in view of next season. A season during which Davos surely will want to do better, and during which the key players will want to redeem themselves.
Enjoy your holidays, Davos!