Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time for the Avalanche to leave the Nest

by J. Scott Moore

It’s time for the Avs to grow up. I think they are ready, but a few things need to go down to make this plausible.

Step number one is a coaching change. I believe Joe Sacco has done about all he can for this young talented group. If he was brought here to play the role of the hard-ass adult then I give him credit for keeping the inmates from running the asylum. However, these kids are ready to take the next step and I don’t think Sacco knows how to facilitate that step. They don’t just need to grow up, they want to take that next step and right now Sacco is one of the biggest obstacles to that.

These young men need a coach that believes in the room, believes in doling out responsibility and holding them accountable. Sacco gets it half right. He does put the young guys out there on the ice in all kinds of challenging situations. Though one could easily argue that he hasn’t much choice, nevertheless, I’ll give him the credit. Where he fails these men is mentoring. Instead of mentoring he punishes by benching and dropping them to lines they have no business playing on. Sacco seems to think that these young, talented men will respond when treated like children. It’s worn thin and it’s time to change.

The other thing that needs to happen is just a tad more veteran leadership on this team. Bringing in JS Giguere was brilliant. Milan Hejduk has also been expected to fill that role. But it just isn’t enough. There needs to be a couple more of these guys on the team with a winning pedigree to get this team over the hump in the big games. To keep them from playing down to the Columbus’s and Edmonton’s of the league. It’s the difference that could have meant the playoffs this season.

As I write this the Avs season is likely over. I can’t help but think that these two things will make all the difference next season. The Avs management has been pulling the trigger here and there to get the puzzle pieces in place. Just a few more pieces and things will be looking mighty fine.

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