[No Top 19 profile today. They will resume tomorrow.]
So Adrian Dater is now ringing the emergency sirens over the delay in Joe Sakic's decision on whether or not to return. He calls it "messy" and says it has completely "handcuffed" the Avalanche organization:
Right now, I would bet that there is a slight bit of chaos going on in the Avalanche front offices, over the Joe Sakic situation.
I, on the other hand, would not bet that. Besides, if we're all just going to speculate wildly about things we don't have much information on, why can't we speculate the other direction?
I'm no executive vice president (yet), but I've been in management and business long enough to know that truly capable and talented professionals with organizations to run don't hang themselves out to dry over one tiny unknown. They factor it into their plans. They "budget" the unknown to the best of their abilities and don't let one wild card throw a wrench in the entire system. Francois Giguere is not an idiot (we saw that when he traded for Ruslan Salei and when he declined to renew Coach Q's contract). To assume that he hung his entire post-season plans on the decision of one aging veteran seems really absurd. If he did, then he doesn't need to be a general manager anymore.
Also, to assume that Joe Sakic, who has been with the Avalanche organization since before it was the Avalanche organization, has had little contact with the team's front office is pretty much unbelievable. You don't think Sakic hasn't spoken a few times to Giguere? You think they haven't discussed options and scenarios together?
Now, for giggles, let's assume they actually haven't had a lot of communication and Joe Sakic is really just this giant, floating enigma that could deep-six the team at any second. That raises the possibility that Sakic is actually very disgruntled. The apparent refusal (or negligence) of Colorado to discuss anything with Andrew Brunette could play into that, since Super Joe and Slow Drew are tight bros. Could Sakic be holding out until some kind of bone is thrown to Brunette? I guess that's a possibility like universal health care in America is a possibility, but it doesn't jive with Sakic's personality or his record of being the ultimate team player (aborted late-90s Rangers contract notwithstanding). Why on earth would a guy with such deep, emotional ties to his employer suddenly become an aloof jerk? No explanation has been offered by anyone.
Since the only thing any of us can do is speculate wildly about this, I'll take the "it's not as bad as everyone assumes" side, if just for balance. And honestly---no offense to Dater, who is a stand-up guy---I don't put a lot of stock in the ruminations of journalists who were blindsided by the hiring of Tony Granato, which the team itself considered a no-brainer. And I definitely don't trust an organization that won't confirm or deny---two weeks in---that they've signed a European agitator who paints himself gold and kisses his teammates to spite his detractors.