An Unmitigated Disaster

Dear Woody Paige,
It's better to stay silent and look a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain

I know, I'm ripping on a mainstream guy just one week after it feels like we've made significant progress, but I can't let his latest article fly without addressing the bizarre, absurd, or impossibilities inherent in his suggestions. I'm not here to rip the writer, but Woody Paige is trying to bake an avalanche cake using ingredients that are a decade old. (See since this is done in the spirit of the now defunct Fire Joe Morgan, God rest his sould, I thought I'd throw in a food metephor.)

First he starts with 122 words (and 5 paragraphs!) which insinuating that Stan Kroenke, who now owns 20.5% of English Premiership Club Arsenal, pays more attention to them than the Avs, which he sums up with:
Arsenal is in the playoffs; the Avalanche is not
Which is all well and good until you realize that Arsenal is also 79.5% not controlled by him. Oh yeah and there's the fact that Arsenal doesn't have a salary cap, is one of the richest and most profitable teams in the world, plays in a league where competitive balance is not even thought of as a goal, and that when Stan didn't have a Salary Cap the Avs always made the playoffs, and won 2 championships. But other than those factors they are extremely comparable situations.

After some more words, I guess talking about how the owner doesn't care about the Avs, he finally gets around to talking about the hockey team:

Rebuild? How about a complete remake?
Let's start with changing, and not sparing, the general manager, the coach, the goalies, the defensemen, the centers and the wings. And finish with the sticks and skates.
Hmm that's an extremely ambitious plan. Some of it could be accomplished fairly easily, some of which will require a very creative and well thought out plan. Let's see if Woody provides us with such a plan.
The stuff Avs president Pierre should be discussing is the hiring of a new general manager — the old general manager.

hmm I guess this could work. There's certainly been some speculation that this could be the case, and it isn't a terrible move (although the Avs are partially in this mess because of some of Pierre's moves). I'm intrigued... go on Woody
And once Pierre retakes over, he should discuss hiring a new coach, the old hockey goalie.

Patrick Roy.
Wait... what!?! Wasn't this season a perfect example of why you should do a proper coaching search before just hiring the guy with links to championships past. I realize Patrick Roy is working on making his way up to the NHL coaching ranks, but Patrick seems to realize that the best way for him to become a successful NHL coach is to start in the junior leagues, then work his way up to AHL or NHL assistant and then to head coach, which will prepare him for the job. Why are people so quick to put him behind the bench. He's been a coach for a QMJHL franchise for 3-4 years now and had some success. He's certainly ready to move up... but I don't think it's wise to go straight from QMJHL to NHL.

But Paige has a plan for this:
And he and Roy could discuss hiring a new assistant coach, the old head coach.

Bob Hartley.
Wait... What!?! Even if the Avs were to re-hire Hartley, wouldn't you want to hire Hartley as the head coach, you know with a cup and coach of the year award in his resume, and hire Roy as the assistant?

And let's not even start with how the Avs should stop with this nearly incestuous obsession with re-living the glory years of 10 years ago by bringing everyone whose ever been a part of the franchise back. There's some good, smart qualified hockey people that have never been a part of the Avs organization. I know that may sound like an epiphany, but it really is true. Let's try to find a few of those guys (or girls)...
And they could discuss the hiring of a new general manager-in-waiting, the old Avalanche player.

Eric Lacroix.

And all could discuss the convincing of Joe Sakic to play another season.

..Or we could go with good ol' fashioned nepotism, because that surley hasn't been part of the root cause of this entire debacle at all. (although i'm on board for bringing Sakic back).

Then, everybody could discuss the drafting of a great young player in the first round, the getting rid of the team's two goaltenders and the signing of a new one in free agency, the adding of a great young defensive free agent, the promotion of the team to the thousands of fans who have given up and the return of Howler as the team's mascot.
Woody: 2 - 2 + 1 = 1.

If the Avs jettison 2 goalies, and add one, they still need one more. signing goalies in free agency costs more money than signing restricted free agents (Budaj). If you want to give Weiman a chance as backup you should add "and call-up Weiman".

Not only that, how in the hell are you going to afford another defenseman? You just blew our free agent load on Sakic and a new goalie. Besides we are already spending $18M in cap room on the defense next season. If we've got this magic money that is able to bypass the NHL's salary cap, maybe we should spend some of it on an offense that currently ranks last in the NHL in goals per game. I'm assuming Howler is coming back to become a 4th line winger, because he's the only one the Avs could afford to fit under the cap if the next Avs GM makes Woody's moves.
Pierre can train Eric — who has experience in all phases of the game — to replace him someday, and Bob can continue to mentor Patrick — who is the (fiery) coach, general manager and co-owner of a junior team in Quebec. Roy has leaned on Hartley, his ex-coach, since becoming a coach, and could utilize the Stanley Cup ring leader as a bench assistant. Roy is ready, and he and Hartley are being mentioned prominently as candidates for the job with the Montreal Canadiens.

Francois Giguere and Tony Granato should be retained by the organization, but not run the organization.
WHY!?! WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why should the Avs retain FG or TG? Most people try to move ahead linearly, but not the Avs or Avs fans. They continue to try and make the Avs forward progress look like a hysterisis loop.

Tony Granato's most note-able accomplishments with the Avs are:
• A flame-out of epic proportions in which he squandered one of the most talented line-ups ever assembled and ended the career of Patrick Roy.
• A season where he assembled a roster similar to one that made the second round of the playoffs the season before and flew it so far into the earth he may have unintentionally struck sweet sweet Swedish Oil.
• Stunted the growth of every Avs young forward other than a few grinders.

Please give me one good reason why Tony Granato deserves to get a paycheck from the Avalanche organization, other than as a full-time living enshrinement in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame as worst Rocky Mountain region professional coach/blernsball player of all time. Why not just hand the guy a $20M bonus and golden parachute while you're at it?

With the top pick, possibly, in the draft, and a couple of unrestricted free agents, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and goalie Ty Conklin, and Paul Stastny and Sakic healthy and the development of a few other young players, and the changes at the top, the Avalanche could be a factor, not a flicker, in the Western Conference again.
Ty Conklin?!? Seriously. You want to jettison the goalies and fix the problem with: Ty fucking Conklin. Are you sure you didn't mean Josh Harding, Kari Lehtonen or even Antero Niittymaki. Ty Conkiln? And not only that you're suggestion is that he's so good that the Avs don't even need to bother signing a back-up.

And how in the world are you going to afford Jay Bouwmeester? The Avs do not have this massive stockpile of cash for next season (and it has nothing to do with Kroenke investing money into Arsenal. It has everything to do with bad contracts coming back to bite the Avs in the ass under the NHL salary cap.) The Avs can't afford him, especially if Sakic comes back. Don't believe a dumb ass blogger, fine. Talk to your colleague.

The owrst part of this re-building process has been to listen to people talk about bringing back ghosts from Avalanche past to run the franchise. The arrogance it takes to suggest that only people associated with either the 2001 or '96 cup run are viable candidates to lead the Avs into the future is just astounding.


  1. For an organIzation that's had Andrew Raycroft all season for $50,000 more?...I'm not sure where you get off bashing Ty Conklin. (You mean you don't want the Avs in the Winter Classic?)

    But good luck with the hopefully non-nepotistic retooling.

  2. I'd love to have Conklin this season instead of Raycroft, but if we're going to go fix the problem why not get someone who will actually fix the problem.

  3. I'm on board with finding a way to get Lehtonen (or Pavalec if they keep Lehtonen)...outside of that, your are not going to find a goalie fix that you don't overpay for. And I say this as a guy who is not a fan of Budaj. He is going to have to come back A) Because he is an RFA and cheap...B) If you somehow DO snag a solid number 1, Budaj has shown the ability to be a strong back-up

    As for the actual article, this is pure drivel, very much like the rest of Woody's ESPN brood of so called "experts."

    The suggestions in the article are so full of proverbial crap that I don't even know where to start. But the main point of your blog is right on's time to sever the ties to the past, and start looking at the future. And hopefully (though unlikely) it starts this off season

    - chiavsfan

  4. I think Lehtonen or Harding are the only two options the Avs really have, and even then they are kind of long shots. If not they are going to have to get a guy like Nittymaki or Clemmenson on a 2-year deal and deal someone at the deadline next season for a prospect, because there's not much else out there for the Avs.

    And you're right, Budaj has to come back next season for the reasons you listed. He'll be fine as a backup.

  5. I agree with you, Jibblescribbits, but unfortunately when considering the last few years, Avs management and Woody Paige have been smoking something very similar. This is an organization that has had inflated expectations for years, so it has avoided rebuilding. They thought trading Chris Drury was a good idea and thought Aebischer and Budaj could fill Roy's skates, so clearly the problems started with Pierre Lacroix.

  6. Woody Paige = clown shoes. Everybody and their mother knows that the 'good-ole-boy' system is what got the Avs in the trouble they are in this season. I jumped up and down like a raving lunatic to get Coach Q shipped out last season only to see the team not even conduct a search for a qualified replacement, but rather hand the keys (for the second time) to Granato when the KNEW how the story ended! WTF!!

  7. so woody has finally gone off the deep end, I wondered why i didn't see him on 'around the horn' maybe it's because the post wants to save face and not have him spewing shit like this on a national stage

  8. Jibbles, what else can I say but epic post. Just epic.

  9. perfect summation of my thoughts when i read this earlier today.

    - mfured20

  10. Also, there are no playoffs in European football. I assume he's confusing Champs League, but that's still dece retarded.

  11. Dude, you got quoted on Puck Dady, sweet!
    From the Point