Avalanche Of Change, Part I: Colorado's Coach

Mike BogaczCorrespondent IMay 13, 2008

Next to being an enforcer (in the pre lock out NHL) being a head coach has the least amount of job security. The avalanche corrected an error that should have not been made in July of 2004. The avs and Joel Quenneville parted ways. After the dreadful ASS KICKING of epic proportions by the Western Conference Champion Redwings, I had the intentions of writing a blog about the changes the Avs need to make in the offseason, by the title, this is the coaches segment. Quenneville was good in St Louis, he benched bossed the blues to the president’s trophy in 2000, which lead to a bow out to the sharks in a 7 game 1st round series. And the next year the Blues where, for all purposes, blown out by the eventual Stanley cup champs Colorado avalanche, the post season has not been nice to Quenneville ever.  Nor has the 2nd round been nice to the avalanche since the 2004 playoffs. Quenneville is a good coach, but his inability to stick with lines and the same goaltender hurts his team. The avs had lost over 300 man games this season and Quenneville hot potato-ness with the lines hurt the avs chances of developing team chemistry, which (aside from no powerplay quarterback) KILLED the avs PP, in my eyes.

Who to replace Quenneville? Patrick Roy? Pat Burns? Barry Melrose?

I say the avs should reach out to the Tampa Bay Lighting. The lighting will be under new owners soon, and they appear, to be willing to let John Tortorella walk. Avalanche GM Francois Giguere made it public he would love for his team to have a wide open, skating team on the ice next season. Tortorella seems to fit that bill the best. By the way, Barry Melrose will NOT coach in the NHL any time soon, that’s from a rumor a few weeks back that the Lighting would interview Melrose and his mullet to be the next Tampa bay bench boss.

The avs have won 2 cups with coaches that had no prior NHL coaching on their resumes, Marc Crawford and Bob Hartley. Both coaches were not shy with their sailor mouths they would tear into players if they sneezed at the wrong time. This is a reason why I don’t like Patrick Roy as a coach. Roy has A LOT of passion and he will not be shy when it comes to verbal ass kicking’s on both his players and the refs, hell I’m sure Roy would jump the boards and to get in a fight, as was proof with his son a few months back in the brawl that got both Roy and his son suspended. Hartley was a decent coach, but his chewing out of players, more so young players hurts the team, proof young players such as Alex Tanguay, Vaclav Nedorost and Radim Vrbata all seemed to have their confidence crushed by Bobby Hartless. Keep in mind that Nedorost is a HUGE stiff and was a BEYOND over rated prospect (thanks to a Denver magazine putting Nedorost on the cover) Roy will also be good at drawing fans out to Chopper Circle and putting asses in the seats of Pepsi Center, hey the “blast from the past” didn’t work with Forsberg and to a lesser extent Adam Foote, WHY would it work with St. Patrick?

Another name is Pat Burns. Burns is a good coach but he plays a defensive trap and I doubt that’s the type of team that the avs will want to be, nor will the trap help the avs even contend with the redwings I feel, you need speed and an open style of play to even contend with the wings. (It was a Pat Burns Devils coached team that beat Mike Babcock’s mighty ducks in the 2003 Stanley cup finals)  And again, the powerplay has been horrible since Rob Blake went back to the kings, this is another issue that the avs NEED to deal with during Free Agency, I don’t think Burns will help. Another prospect should be just fired from the sharks Ron Wilson. Wilson is in the same boat as Quenneville, a good coach but has unproven post season success.  A long possibility is having Tony Granato return as head coach, Granato does have the highest winning percentage among the 4 avalanche bench bosses but, in my perspective, the type of player Tony was, he seems to be more a buddy to the players than a coach, plus he was schooled in the 2003 playoffs, by Wild coach Jacques Lemaire. Granato will be head coach again in the NHL, I doubt it will be for the Avalanche, but, I would be shocked if he’s not an assistant next season


 Obviously John Totorella has post season success, having coached the Lighting to the 2004 Stanley cup, many will point out Tortorellas recent failures with the Lighting, I blame POOR management on the bolts down fall, you can’t put ALL your eggs in 3 baskets (brad Richards, St. Louis and Lecavalier) also the bolts have had horrible goaltending since they lost Khabibulin to the ‘Hawks. Even though Tortorella is still the lightings property, and YES Tortorealla ALSO rips into his players (such as Crawford, Hartley) I feel he should be the next coach of the Colorado Avalanche. He has, to me, the best tools to “restore” the Avalanche as a threat in the NHL.