16 April 2008
Coach Quenneville is old school. He played on the Colorado Rockies Hockey team in the 70s and it would be very easy for him to fall in line with the Brian Burke/Neophyte "gooning it up is good for the game". But he shuns all that in favor of trying to keep cooler heads.
Earlier in the season the Avs and another team (I forget which one, possibly the Wild or Ducks) had an escalating penalty-fest in which both of them were starting to fight and things were getting out of hand. It was both teams fault and a war was brewing. Late in the game, when the outcome was decided, there was a faceoff near the benches. The Avs opponent sent out a three goon line to prove that they, in fact, could piss better than the Avs. Somehow this would have "sent the avs a message". Quenneville sent out the Wolski-Arnason-Svats Machine line, and made a bigger statement than anything that could have been said through a tough guys fists. Q's message wasn't lost on anyone who wasn't watching the game that night. His team was going to be classy, and you're not going to bully the Avs around.
There's no doubt that Quenneville has also been a deciding factor in putting the kibosh on Cody McLeod's early season cheap tactics. While he still falls into that once in a while he has been restrained considerably since I, and others, called him out for being a jackass. In fact last night he was doing exactly what he should be doing, irritating without dirty. Lappy should get credit for that as well, but McLeod wouldn't be better if it wasn't for Quenneville.
Last night was another example. Jaques LeMaire kept throwing out Boogard, Vellieux, and Vorros in order to "send a message." The ridiculous part about the message is that what you're basically saying is: "You may be winning but remember: We've got bigger dicks". It's ridiculous in every sense. Quenneville resisted the bait, along with his troops, so instead of being able to unite with a common anger on the Avs, now they must sheepishly look towards their own bench not with a sense of camaraderie, but with a sense of embarrassment. Lemaire wanted to prove the Wild have bigger dicks, but Quenneville completely emasculated them:
The Wild players wouldn't admit it, but they must have been feeling a bit sheepish about their ridiculous conduct in the 5-1 loss. The media were allowed in the visitors locker room after a few minutes, and most of the players -- along with their civilian clothes -- were hiding behind the curtain that makes the back of the locker room off-limits.
The series has to finish itself out, but last night Quenneville went a long way towards swinging the series in the Avs direction. Win or lose this series fans have a team they can be proud of. So major Kudos to coach Q
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