Mark Kiszla of the Post has added his two cents to the Coach Q love-fest that has finally started to subside, though it came with the price tag of two important games lost to Western Conference rivals. It's not exactly a hug fest, but it's no tough love, either.
Disclaimer: I think most of what Mark Kiszla writes is absolute crap. So if I seem a little harsh on him, it's because I don't like his writing.
Is time running out on Colorado coach Joel Quenneville?
His contract with the team expires this year.
Yes. And his expiring contract means the team won't have to fire him.
While Quenneville has held the Avs together through uneven goaltending and frustrating injuries, he also has watched home-ice advantage melt away to the point where Colorado could slip up and miss the playoffs.
What planet do these people live on? "...Held the Avs together through uneven goaltending?" Coach Q created the uneven goaltending. He has two perfectly capable goaltenders and he's squandered their talents time and time again. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
Hired on the eve of the infamous NHL lockout in 2004, Quenneville is completing his third season of hockey for the Avs. He already has the distinction of being the lone coach since the team came to town in 1995 to miss the playoffs.
Falling short of the playoffs again would be a very unhealthy habit for a coach of a franchise that bravely insists that anything less than a championship is a failure.
Anything less than the Stanley Cup is a failure, for any team, since that's the goal of playing professional hockey. And don't think for a second that any of the fans will forget last season, or forgive Q if this season ends up the same way. Say what you want about the salary cap, the Lockout, or injuries, but a team this deep and talented has no excuse for failure.
If you're asking me, Quenneville has done good work, refusing to let a beat-up team surrender, forcing the Avs to play the down-and-dirty hockey an undermanned squad must play merely to survive.
Nobody's asking you.
Avalanche general manager Francois Giguere conducts his job with the patience of an accountant, making sure everything adds up before making any decision that shakes up the franchise.
It's a sharp contrast to the passionate and bullish management style of predecessor Pierre Lacroix, who made bold trades, kicked up dust and worried about how it all settled later.
Pierre Lacroix made bold trades because he wasn't limited by a salary cap. Fracois Giguere conducts his job with the patience of an accountant because the salary cap essentially makes him an accountant. This is not a difference in personality but a difference in limitations.
The pressure is squarely on Quenneville, who gets no excuses.
Fair or not, he is a scapegoat waiting to happen.
You can't be a scapegoat for failure if it's actually your fault. Nobody is scapegoating Coach Q---he's the one to blame for the team's problems. If he doesn't get any excuses, meaning the responsibility of the team's success or failure rests on his shoulders, how can he possibly be scapegoated? What a ridiculous misuse of a word.
And now, the big finish:
So, like it or not, Giguere has two choices.
The Avalanche can give Quenneville a contract extension now to end the uncertainty.
Or Colorado can let the final 24 games of the season hang like a big question mark over the job security of Coach Q.
I don't know why those three sentences required three paragraph breaks, but whatever. Giguere actually has three choices: re-sign Q to a new contract and risk an angry mob of Avalanche fans carrying pitchforks and dynamite (yes, dynamite); let Q finish out the last 24 games of the season and then start looking for a new coach (if Giguere hasn't already started looking); or fire Q now and finish the year with Granato behind the bench. The season may be lost anyway, what difference does it make? The power play couldn't get any worse.