The Denver Post has an interview up today by Mark Kiszla of Avalanche governor Josh Kroenke. I highly suggest you read the entire article, but here are some of the highlights, starting with how Kroenke feels about criticism of the team:
Josh Kroenke, entering his second season as governor of the local NHL franchise, has heard the complaints.
"Honestly," Kroenke said, "it really bothers me when people say we don't care about hockey. I don't want to say it so bluntly that it offends the fans. But they got spoiled the first few years the Avalanche were in town," Kroenke told me. "We won two Stanley Cups during the first five or six years we were here in Denver. Then we had stars retire and we came into a new system of doing business in the league. Could management have done a better job transitioning into the new system? I think that's fair to say."
Kroenke revealed that Pierre Lacroix's health issues have been a bigger factor than perhaps many of us thought:
"Pierre has been in a really rough spot. The last three years have been hell for him. He had two knee surgeries to have his knee replaced. But he had bleeding from his quad down into his knee, even when they went back and redid the surgery," explained Kroenke, who cherishes Lacroix as a mentor."He had a custom one [artificial knee] made over the last eight months and had another surgery done in July," Kroenke said. "And if it didn't work this time, the doctors were going to take his leg below the knee. It was that bad."
But hopefully, Lacroix's health battles are finally over - sentiments we agree with here at MHH.
The holiday wish is Lacroix has finally made strong progress on the road to recovery. That would be a gift for the Avs.
"Pierre is re-engaging more aggressively than I've seen in the last few years," Kroenke said.
Kroenke also discusses his non-hockey background
"I never played hockey. I wasn't around the game growing up," said Kroenke, who attended the University of Missouri on a basketball scholarship. "So I have to put a certain element of trust in the guys who make the hockey decisions. I think they feel pretty good about the young corps we have. Are we going to take a few on the chin in the meantime, while these players grow up? We might."
Kroenke says that he really, really wants to win:
He means business. And the business is winning. Winning is his goal for the Avalanche.
"It's going to take time. That's the tough part," Kroenke said, "because everybody wants to win now. I understand that. I'm one of the most competitive people you'll ever meet."
First thing I take from this - Josh, THANK YOU. All you have to do is just talk to us. Do interviews, let us inside your head for just a moment. We only jump to conclusions because we have nowhere else to turn due to the intense secrecy of the front office. Since there are practically no official statements released, we're forced to try to figure out what's going on on our own and it's not always positive or correct. We're willing to support you, but you have to keep us in the loop. Keep us updated, reassure us that you are as dedicated to this team as we are. That's all we ask.
Secondly, holy cow. I had no idea Pierre Lacroix was in that bad of shape. A knee replacement surgery is nothing to scoff at, but when it's rejected twice, that's scary. He's the mentor to Kroenke, Sherman, and Sakic - none of which have been in their current roles for over 3 years. From the way Kroenke talks about him, it seems like he's the "Veteran Captain" of the front office, like Adam Foote and Milan Hejduk have been to the team. It looks like our rash of injuries has spread even to the execs, and without Lacroix, the young, inexperienced guys were left to fend for themselves. We all saw how well our young, inexperienced players did without their vets last year - getting Lacroix back would be an incredible boost for this franchise. Pierre, we wish you nothing but good health. Good luck on the road to recovery - we're pulling for you!
This interview helps calm a lot of my fears as to what is going on behind the closed doors of the Avs' front office. I understand the need for some secrecy - we can't have other teams finding out certain details and using them to their advantage - but just getting the slightest peek into what is going on is a huge reassurance for the fans. Please, please, PLEASE keep the updates coming. And Lacroix - get better soon!