[Please forgive the incredibly lame (and nonsensical) title. It's been a long week. - Joe]
So we've all had a night to calmly and politely reflect on the not-so-surprise re-hiring of Tony Granato as the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Our initial shock and massive migraine have subsided by now. The Percocet hangover is starting to kick in.
Some of us were outraged yesterday. Some of us were unimpressed but un-angry. Others were at least open to the idea that Granato could be maybe a good coach for the current incarnation of the Avalanche. Maybe. I think there's probably at least one guy, somewhere, that is really excited and happy that GM Francois Giguere went the way that he did---and that one guy is not even named "Tony Granato."
It is what it is. Despite the obvious and overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fans and the hockey blogosphere in general, not to mention most of us at MHH, Tony Granato is the new old coach of the Avalanche. Whether it was Giguere acting alone or on the orders of team president (and former GM) Pierre Lacroix, it doesn't really matter. We're stuck with him, at least for now, and we'll just have to get used to it.
It could be worse, for whatever that's worth.
Really, like I said in my last post, the choice of Granato as coach isn't the real story here. Granato's been in the organization for a while, has growing coaching experience and is well-liked by the front office. The fact that he wasn't even considered a serious candidate for the job by ANYONE in the Denver sports media is the real story here. Adrian Dater had no idea . Terry Frei was running stories about Todd McLellan. And it wasn't just the Denver Post that was in the dark, it was the Rocky Mountain News, too. They hardly mentioned anything about potential coaching candidates and I can't find a single article saying Granato was the top candidate. According to Francois Giguere himself :
"He was my first choice," said Giguere, who parted ways with coach Joel Quenneville by mutual agreement earlier this month. "I'm convinced today that Tony is the best coach for us."
And yet our esteemed beat guys and know-it-all columnists had no clue whatsoever.
This suggests two things to me. One, the Avalanche Cone Of Silence continues to be a formidable opponent for anyone seeking information about the team, and two, the Avalanche beat guys and columnists aren't trying especially hard. I like Dater and Frei and Rick Sadowski seems like a cool dude, but the fact that nobody saw this coming suggests that they all, at some level, failed to do their jobs. Again, I know how serious the Avalanche is about controlling press coverage and "the message", and I know that must be frustrating. And I've never been a beat reporter, so I don't know how tough that job can be. But Granato's re-hiring as coach broadsided everyone, and that's pretty tough to swallow.
The second major theme of Granato's re-hiring is the apparent obsession with the past that Francois Giguere has developed. First it was Peter Forsberg, then Adam Foote. Now he's got Granato behind the bench. What's next? Sandis Ozolinsh on the blue line? Sure, Forsberg and Foote both played really well at the end of the season, and their return powered the team to the second round of the playoffs, but the Avs can't run on memories forever. At some point they're going to have to shift into a forward-thinking mindset. If that means some old friends have to find other places to play and coach hockey, then so be it.
Ultimately, Granato will probably do pretty well, and the Avs will probably like him and the chemistry, goaltending and power play problems they faced under Quenneville will probably be addressed. He wasn't anyone's first (or second, or third, or fourth) choice for the head coaching job, but it's not the end of the world. We'll just have to come to grips with the fact that the Stanley Cup will elude them for at least another season.
Let's not kill each other in the comments over this.