When a coach loses the respect of his players and they start tuning him out, willfully ignoring his commands and decisions, it is said that he has "lost the room." Well, Coach Q lost the biggest room of all a while back when he lost the respect of the fans. But it's becoming more clear that Q lost the players, too.
Even though Ralph Routon contends:
Many fans and observers feel Quenneville deserves most of the blame, and it's true the Avs have been postseason underachievers the past three years, never advancing past the second round. But unlike the Nuggets players, whose frustration with Karl is well-documented, the Avs don't appear to hold Quenneville responsible.
Really? It's already been noted (twice) that Andrew Brunette is no fan of Quenneville and will probably not be offered a new contract by the Avalanche if they retain Coach Q, but now Dater confirms that it was more than just one guy:
"Desire to compete" is a thing tough to prove, and I don’t think this team lacked that. But, again, the constant switching up of personnel is something the fans - and some players, I can assure you - had ringing in my ears all year.
So it wasn't just Brunette that was frustrated by the lack of team chemistry caused by Quenneville's bizarre punishment and reward system of line changes. You would have to assume that there was a lot of grumbling in the locker room, just as there was grumbling among the fans. Anyone who has ever played or even just watched hockey for any extended amount of time knows the importance of team chemistry and how consistency fosters it and inconsistency weakens it. Those of us who complained about frequent changes didn't have to be in the Avalanche lineup to know they weren't helping anyone.
Not that we didn't take some serious heat for those observations (which are now proven to have been quite accurate and insightful).
If you'll remember back to late February, a certain Denver radio host had this to say about our concerns:
Again, you have to come with something beyond saying that the coach is incompetent because he changes lines during games, but our standards aren't terribly high.
As to the line-juggling, tell me how that could conceivably affect the power play or penalty kill units? It would only have an impact in even-strenth, five-on-five situations, wouldn't it? An area in which the Avs have won the most favorable working margins across the entire league. I understand that this kind of analysis is rarely practiced by the "elite bloggers" because it requires the application of fairness, intelligence, and knowledge. None of which they have in abundance.
Ouch. That would have hurt a lot more if it hadn't been so ridiculously wrong. If something negatively affects the ability of the players on the ice to win games, it's important, and I think we can all rest assured that we had it right from the start. The players---we now know---agreed with us, and that's all that matters. Nobody but the players can win a game.
With the opening in Toronto, the obvious lack of loyalty among the players, and the painful sweep at the hands of the Red Wings, I'm really starting to doubt that Joel Quenneville will be back next season behind the Avalanche bench. Francois Giguere, the Avs' GM, is probably still pondering his options, but I'd imagine the Reign Of The 'Stache is just about over in Denver.
I named a few possible replacements in a recent post, but Mark Kiszla (sorry guys) offers a couple more:
Kevin Dineen, a former NHL player from a strong hockey family, has been touted as a man ready to make his mark as a coach. Grassroots supporters would shout it's time to see if George Gwozdecky could transfer his huge success at the University of Denver to the pro ranks.
I guess we'll find out before long.