I want to apologize first and foremost about this entry I am about to contribute to Mile High Hockey. This article may come across as extremely negative, angry, perhaps even a bit "troll-like". But I assure you that none of those feelings are being conveyed into this article. I am simply proposing a set of changes that I believe the Colorado Avalanche organization should put into place in order to put this team on the right track with itself and its fans. After last night, I have come to realize that this organization is not just lost; it is mismanaged and neglected. These changes I believe need to be made in order for the Avalanche to become the organization it once was:
GM Greg Sherman needs to be replaced with a hockey minded GM (AKA Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay): You CANNOT run a professional sports team in the modern era with the mindset of an accountant; sure, you need to be wise with your spending but certainly anyone who is the GM of major sports franchise should have assistants WHO ARE the accountants to validate or invalidate the logic of any major move they may want to make rather than have the head guy BE the accountant.
Replace Joe Sacco with an experienced coach and stop hiring coaches from within: Joe Sacco has done some amazing things with this team to his credit; however I believe his system is better suited for AHL, OHL, or NCAA and not the NHL. You can only slap the wrist of a player so many times before he turns from a workhorse to a stubborn mule, and I believe that is what we are witnessing. NHL players DO need discipline but not a disciplinarian; Joe Sacco has outright humiliated players night in and night out and made them so afraid of Cleveland that I believe it has stunted the development of some players. These are PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, not midgets/ juniors; they have all gotten to this level because of their hard work and determination, and they know when they are not playing up to their level. Handing out school yard, high school level discipline every time a player does something wrong is going to have a negative affect not a positive one. I think Joe Sacco is single handedly responsible for the failure of Greg Mauldin in the Avalanche system.
Move your AHL team closer to home; get rid of the Lake Erie Monsters: What is worse than having your AHL team located in Hell? Having you AHL team located in Cleveland. KSE recently purchased the 5,000+ seat First Bank Center (formerly the Broomfield Event Center) that hosted the Rocky Mountain Rage of the CHL for a few seasons. This hockey ready facility would be the perfect location for a Colorado Avalanche AHL franchise. It is close to home, it is at altitude (so your players can train at the same altitude as they will play in the NHL) and plus your younger/developing players can establish a better footing in Colorado and with the fans.
Enough with Altitude: This was a colossal failure… KSE created the greatest competition to going to an Avalanche game: Watching an Avalanche game on a KSE owned cable channel for a micro-fraction of the cost of going to a game. In my opinion the Avalanche should go back to FSN, and simulcast the games on Channel 2 "The Deuce" which is owned by FOX 31 or Channel 5 which is now owned by 9news. By doing this, you reach out to the fan base who cannot afford to GO TO GAMES, or AFFORD TO BUY HIGHER PACKAGES OF CABLE/SATELLITE TV to get Altitude. Altitude already pushes the Avs games to Channel 105 (CET) also known as Altitude 2 whenever the Nuggets play on the same night, why not just simulcast it on an "Available to all subscribers" channel like 2 or 5 like the Rockies do?! What is the worse that could happen? More fans of the team?
The Retirement of Adam Foote: After seeing Foote on the ice for a lot of the opposing teams’ goals… all I can say is that I think it is time for Footer to hang up the skates and be honored with Peter Forsberg next year.
Obtain veteran leadership: The Avalanche team is hurting because this team has no veteran leadership except Foote and Hejduk (and 1 possibly 2 of them will be retired by next year).
Decide which center you want to build your franchise around: Stastny or Duchene… I am a huge fan of both players but I honestly think that the Avalanche should build around Matt Duchene and trade Paul Stastny (while his value is considerably high). I KNOW many of you cringe at what I just said but consider something… How long do you think Duchene should stay on the 2nd line? I think Stastny is NOT captain material for the future of this franchise, but I strongly believe that Duchene is. So shouldn’t we try and get something of value by trading one of our stars? I believe it should be considered at least. This league has a value for value trade market, the days of the Avalanche screwing the bottom-dwellers for their star players are over with. If you want to roll with the two star centers, fine, but GET THEM SOME WINGERS!
Consider Free Agency: The lack of movement in the FA market I believe contributed the Avs woes this year, but I don’t believe that it is completely to blame. I for one am glad we didn’t overpay for some of the d-men that were out there and I am REALLY glad we didn’t get Kovalchuck. The Avalanche cannot do that again… It will be such a disaster and a blow to a fan base if this team continues to hover around the salary cap minimum. While we all know why the Avs are doing it (to secure cap space for future contracts for their young players); it wouldn’t break the bank to sign a few strong players to compliment the team.
Stop charging for parking in the so-called $10 dollar "Value lot" at Pepsi Center. Charge only for parking close to the building, and stop adding insult to injury that is the "Avalanche Experience".
Aerial rockets and pyrotechnics should be apart of the intro of every Avalanche game. If babies aren’t crying, then it isn’t loud enough. The End.
No more "Guys Night Out" promotions instead how ‘bout a few "Ladies Nights"? That will certainly make it a "Guys Night Out". As according to human reproductive practices… guys go where the women are…duh KSE. No guys want to escape to "Hillshire Farms Arena" to enjoy a sausage fest.
All in all… Bring back the passion that once was, Avalanche Hockey. Now, let’s tank it for Larsson, Landeskog or Couturier!