Kukla's Korner Hockey
This one slipped past us earlier today. From the Montreal Gazette:
Colorado looks for GM ‘in-house’: A report in the Denver Post said fired Colorado Avalanche general manager François Giguère will be replaced by “one of several in-house candidates.” If that’s the case, you can bet team president Pierre Lacroix has already decided Patrick Roy will be behind the Colorado bench next season.
Thanks to Avs Talk for the pointer.
There’s more from Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes on Jay Feaster’s interest in the GM spot in Colorado:
“He was my main mentor in hockey and we have been close through the years,” Feaster said Wednesday of Lacroix. “I have known Pierre Lacroix for a long time ... and certainly let him know of my interest in managing again in the National Hockey League and that I would truly enjoy working with him.”
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
The worst season in Avalanche history is over, and Francois Giguere paid for it with his job. But coach Tony Granato remains.
Many people are wondering: How can that be? Pierre Lacroix knows all the reasons, but other than a few sentences on a sheet of paper Monday, he won’t say anything.
But this offers the biggest clue: $43.392 million. That’s the amount the Avs are committed to paying just 13 players in 2009-10 — seven of whom are 30 or older.
I didn’t have a bug planted in the Avs’ luxury suite occupied late in the season on at least one occasion by Lacroix and owner Stan Kroenke. But it wouldn’t be outlandish to wonder if Kroenke had said something like: “Wait a minute, Pierre. I know we stink this year, but are you telling me I’m on the hook for another year of this stuff?”
Fair or not, Giguere was seen by too many hockey people as the equivalent of Nero, fiddling while the Avalanche burned.
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that Executive VP/General Manager Francois Giguere has been relieved from his duties. Effective immediately, Avalanche President and Alternate Governor Pierre Lacroix will oversee the franchise until a new management structure is announced.
Pierre Lacroix issued the following statement:
“The results of this season are unacceptable. We feel a new direction is needed which re-emphasizes those standards of excellence our fans have grown accustomed to since 1995. We will work diligently towards reclaiming our identity that made our brand so special and unique.
“We are too proud of what we have accomplished in this market to ignore where we are and what happened in just a very short period of time. Ownership and the dedicated Avalanche fans throughout the region deserve better results.
“The immediate future of this franchise is my primary concern so it was important to act now and start the process of restoring this franchise to where it belongs.”
The Avalanche has not set a timetable for finalizing a new management structure. Until such an announcement is made, there will be no further comment from any member of the team’s hockey operations staff.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs, T
he other rumor - and this has been going around for a year now - is that Patrick Roy will be the next Avalanche coach.
I’ve been trying to get ahold of Patrick the last couple of days, to no avail.
But he did tell my buddy Bertrand Raymond of Le Journal Montreal recently that he no longer is intent on staying as a coach at the junior level, in Quebec, while his sons are still playing there, that he “will listen” to any offer to coach in the NHL next year.
Personally, I would LOVE to see Patrick Roy back in Denver. He didn’t always like me, and I didn’t always like him, but who cares about me - he’s a legend, and I have always liked being around him - even when he was cursing at me using every last profane word in the English and French dictionaries.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs, .
..But, listen, I’m probably going to choke up a little at the Joe Sakic retirement press conference - one that I expect to happen at some point soon.
I predicted all through last summer that Sakic would play this year. And I’m predicting now that Sakic will retire after this, his 20th season. And, as I’ve said before, I do hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I will be.
Anyway, the news tonight was that Captain, our Captain, can’t play this weekend. We had all sorts of fun scenarios for this weekend.
added 8:52am, Joe Sakic was asked if he would be back this weekend, watch his response below.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
After the Avalanche’s Tuesday morning skate, Tony Granato had just finished confirming that he expected and wanted to be back as the Avalanche’s coach next season.
The followup question — “Why?” — bothered him.
“What do you want me to do, be a full-time fisherman?” Granato asked. “Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of an organization I have pride in? Why wouldn’t I want my . . .”
“If you think I’m a quitter or you’re insinuating that you should bail out when things aren’t going well, you don’t know a hockey player and you don’t know me,” he said. “That is almost an insulting question. Personally, when you’re in a position and things aren’t going well, if everyone bailed out, you’d have a lot of losers around this world. I’m going to fight through this the best I can and if I get the opportunity, try and turn this thing around the way we plan to.”
via NYI Point Blank,
With four games remaining for both, the Islanders have 61 points, Colorado now has 66. Tampa Bay also has 66 points and three games left. If the Islanders lose in regulation on Tuesday in Carolina and on Thursday in Pittsburgh - a big if - they “clinch” a top 2 pick and the best odds of getting the No. 1 pick.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
First off, I don’t know if Francois Giguere is going to keep his job or not after April 12. From what I hear, it’s still being considered by those higher on the food chain, and pretty much that consists of only two people: Pierre Lacroix and E. Stanley Kroenke.
Lacroix has not and, according to Avs VP of media relations Jean Martineau, will not speak with the media in the near future. There is nobody more secretive and tight-lipped with the media than Pierre Lacroix, so what follows, for now, is a little educated-guessing parlor game about who the next GM would be if Giguere goes.
There are a couple of sources around the Avs who do believe there is a decent chance Lacroix will step back in to the GM role, replacing the man who he picked to succeed him with himself.
So, here is a look at probable candidates, should the job open up: First up, Pierre Lacroix
read on with more candidates…
From the Colorado Avalanche:
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that forward Ryan Smyth will miss the remainder of the 2008-09 season due to a fractured right hand.
Smyth suffered the injury during the second period of last night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Pepsi Center. The Banff, Alberta native is the Avalanche’s leading scorer this season with 59 points (26g/33a) in 77 games.
from the CP via TSN,
Al Montoya sure didn’t look like a guy making his NHL debut.
Montoya made 23 saves to earn a shutout, Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan scored a goal each, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the reeling Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Wednesday night.
“I couldn’t let this feel like my first game,” Montoya said. “I had to play it like I’ve been here before. That’s the attitude I came with.”
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Riding down the elevator tonight, after the latest dismal Avs showing against Phoenix, a Coyotes team official said out loud, “The tank job is in, isn’t it?” He was talking about YOUR Colorado Avalanche.
Serious or not, what the unnamed Phoenix official said is what a couple of other league-related people have also mused lately - the possibility that the Avs are, in fact, tanking it down the stretch to get the highest possible draft choice this June.
Hey, as I said in a previous column, losing every game down the stretch would be a great thing for this team. There is absolutely nothing good that can come out of the Avalanche winning any games down the stretch, and everything potentially good that can come from the worst possible finish.
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