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Colorado Avalanche: Courting Patrick Roy Shameful; What of Granato?

Greg Eno@@GregEnoSenior Analyst IJune 1, 2009

MONCTON, CANADA - MAY 28:  General Manager and head coach of the Quebec Remparts, Patrick Roy, carries the Memorial Cup trophy across the ice after his team defeated the Moncton Wildcats 6-2 in the 2006 Memorial Cup final at the Moncton Coliseum on May 28, 2006 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The Remparts defeated the Wildcats 6-2.  (Photo by Mike Dembeck/Getty Images)

Tony Granato missed his chance. Timing is everything, you know.

Granato should have waited until it was confirmed that Patrick Roy had turned down the Colorado Avalanche's job offer—the job that Granato holds—and marched into the office of general manager Pierre Lacroix and delivered this open-ice hit:

"I quit."

Alas, that moment has passed.

What must have Granato been thinking, as the Avalanche publicly courted ex-goalie Roy to be their next coach?

Again, Granato still holds that job and had it while Roy took several days to mull over the Avs' offer.

What kind of thing is that?

You want Patty Roy as your new coach (as misguided as that is, but that's another article entirely)? Fine—but at least have the decency to be secretive and clandestine about it.

As busy as I've been covering the Stanley Cup Finals, I still have had some time to sit slack-jawed thinking of how Granato was left twisting in the wind while Roy decided whether to become the new coach in Colorado.

It's mind-boggling, really, to think of what Granato must have been thinking while this nonsense was being played out.

It all started as a rumor—a wild notion that the Avalanche might be so desperate as to bring in Roy, who, even as far as goalies go was a little off his nut, to coach the team.

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I literally laughed when I first read of the Internet rumor-mongering.

But then it proved to be frightfully true: the Avs, on a downward spiral that they've never experienced since moving from Quebec in 1995, were indeed desperate enough.

So they courted Roy, did it shamelessly, all while Granato's name remained next to the title of "head coach" on the official team website.

At first Roy denied it, then when it was apparent that denying was no longer an option, he went with the flow and said, "yeah, they offered me the job. But I don't know if I want it or not."

Meanwhile, what was Granato doing? Updating his resume? Networking on Facebook? Hitting Monster.com?

Unbelievable.

If you want to make a high-profile change before firing the incumbent, here's how you do it. This is how the Detroit Tigers, surreptitiously, canned Les Moss and hired Sparky Anderson in June 1979.

Sparky was doing TV work for the Angels when he mentioned to Don Drysdale that he was being wooed by the Chicago Cubs. Not only that, but that Sparky was planning on taking over the Cubs in 1980.

Drysdale told Tigers TV announcer George Kell, who relayed the news to GM Jim Campbell.

Campbell got some ideas.

The Tigers were playing reasonably well under Moss, but the chance to hire someone like Sparky Anderson doesn't come around too often. So Campbelll began making phone calls to Sparky, all on the QT.

Sparky said no at first, telling Campbell that the Tigers couldn't afford him. Campbell persisted. Sparky said OK, but not until 1980.

Campbell showed his integrity by telling Sparky, "There's no way I could look Les Moss in the eye knowing I'd be firing him at the end of the season. You either come now or you don't come at all."

Sparky admired that greatly, and joined the Tigers a couple days later. His hiring was a complete shock. Totally under the radar. Just as it should have been.

Still, Campbell felt badly about firing Moss.

The way the Avs have handled this Granato/Roy mess is shameful.

I think it would be a hoot if Tony submitted his resignation. Just out of spite, if nothing else. It's not like he wouldn't be justified in his actions.

Come on, Tony. Cut loose!

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