Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Defense of Pierre Lacroix

Pierre Lacroix has been taking a lot of heat lately about the state of the Colorado Avalanche. He has been accused of blaming Francois Giguere for the Avs dismal season. He has been accused of living in the past. The secrecy of his inner circle rivals that of the Illuminati. He is widely portrayed as a puppet master.

Pierre Lacroix disseminates information when and where he pleases and not before. For the rabid Avalanche fan living in the instant-information age, it’s infuriating. For those employed in the media, well let’s just say their jobs are difficult enough without Pierre Lacroix adding the n-th degree of difficulty. Maybe someone needs to call in Robert Langdon to decipher what Lacroix meant by “management structure”.

I hold no ill will toward the man. I am satisfied to wait. I am not anxious about the new “structure” the Avalanche will employ. Am I anxious to know what it is? Sure, but I am not fretting like some fans and media personnel. I believe Lacroix knows better than most the state of our team. He has the most to gain and the most to lose, so I expect him to be deliberate and precise in his actions. Nothing less will do.

Perhaps Lacroix is an old fashioned business man. He believes that keeping the rumors to a minimum keeps the deal on track. Loose lips sink ships. And the accusations of puppet master are unfair. If you have ever been in a position to hire people you know how important it is to find people that share your philosophies and values about the project, job or goal that you are trying to accomplish. You don’t go out looking for a rebel soul unless you are trying to sink your own ship. So of course Lacroix is going to hire someone that is going to resemble his style. That doesn’t mean they can’t think for themselves.

That’s where I think Patrick Roy fits in well. Lacroix and Roy share one very important trait. The desire to win. But at the same time I don’t think anyone would ever mistake Patrick Roy as anyone other than his own man. Roy is no puppet. I highly support Lacroix hiring Roy as the next head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. And I think he should do it regardless of the status of the GM situation. Will Roy hold both positions or are the rumors just getting a little out of hand as time passes without any solid information?

It isn’t necessarily backwards to hire one before the other. I think Lacroix should hire who he thinks is the best man for the general manager job. Then the GM and the coach must work together to restore this team to its winning ways. This methodology is not unheard of, many sports organizations work this way. Granted, many create a great deal of friction in the process, sometimes resulting in the needed ouster of one or the other. However, we have seen this hockey team fail with the following progression: Lacroix hires GM, GM hires coach, team plummets to last place. There is nothing wrong with shaking up the process. And if that takes a little time, so be it.

Posted by: From the Point


  1. Eh, I don't like the secrecy strategy, but I understand it, and respect it.

    I think many people's problem is that the way things are done, Hiring Granato (Lacroix's original choice) without even interviewing other candidates, and then leaving Granato out in the dark as he courts someone else for the job, makes the criticism of him being a puppet master fair. Possibly inaccurate, but without talking to people he's left the interpretation entirely on the observers.

    I would be a lot more ok with his handling if it felt more professional. I think there's a difference between professional and tight-lipped and he's crossing the line, IMO

  2. Yeah, I don't think things are going quite as smoothly and quietly as PL would like, and that does make him look goofy.
    As for Granato, I'm not so sure he was PL's pick, I think FG may have made that choice.
    One thing I'm sure of, we'll never know for sure!