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If you haven't already heard Tony Granato, and a slew of others, have been fired by the Colorado Avalanche. I am extremely excited for the avalanche franchise, but I want to temper my excitement for my sports team a little with the realization that good people just lost their jobs, so I'm not going to do any crazy celebrating. I'm pleased for the Avalanche because I think this is the right decision, but it still affects many families in a negative way.

Bob Sherman, who was assistant to the (General) Manager takes over as General Manager. He was previously the Avs Assistant to the GM, and he was born in Scranton, PA... Dwight Schrute has become the GM of the Colorado Avalanche. All credit for the correlation goes to DD at Mile High Hockey (in the comments)

GM Schrute.. er Sherman, , has an extremely busy month ahead of him. Free Agency starts in less than a month, the Draft is three weeks away, and he has a new coach, and coaching staff, to hire as well. That's a pretty tall order for a rookie GM. (Magnificent portrait of Dwight Schrute via Danielle Rizzolo.)

Well As a loyal and devoted Avs fan, I always ask myself "Ask not what this team can do for you, ask what you can do for this team". In that regard I will graciously provide a list of coaching candidates that the avs should be looking at, you know to help narrow down GM Schrute... er Sherman's list of potential coaches to a couple good candidates (IMO) (I don't think that jokes ever going to get old +1 to DD for thinking of it first).

Jibbles' top candidate:
Brian McCutcheon - Assistant Coach, Buffalo Sabres

Brian McCutcheon has had a pretty successful coaching career, and his next stop has to be an NHL head coaching gig. He coached the Rochester Americans (Buf) to 2 straight AHL Finals appearances in '99 and '00 before becoming an assistant coach under Lindy Ruff in Buffalo. Over that time he has overseen the development of many young talented players, including Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Daniel Brierre, J.P. Dumont, Tim Connelly, Brian Campbell, Jason Pominville, and Drew Stafford. In fact Buffalo seems to do a better job than anyone in developing young talent, and he helped even get meaningful seasons out of Maxim Afinogenov as a young player.

The Avs are loaded with young forwards brimming with potential, and hiring a guy who has helped many mercurial forwards reach their potential, I think, is the Avs best play. He also has a link to the Avalanche, as his son, Mark, is currently on the Lake Erie roster. In my opinion this is the best hire for the Avs.

Other good candidates
Kevin Dineen - Head Coach, Portland Pirates (AHL-Buf)

Almost every season there seems to be an AHL coach whose name is mentioned in every available coaching vacancy. For the last two seasons it's been Dineen. (I'm going off of memory here, so if I'm inaccurate please correct me politely in the comments). He interviewed in Florida last season and in Edmonton for the job that Pat Quinn finally got. He was coach of the year for the Pirates, and he guided the Pirates deep into the playoffs two years in a row despite switching NHL affiliates in between seasons. He also has overseen the development of young players for two franchises that have loads of young players making a difference (Anaheim and Buffalo). The only potential drawback is that his coaching experience, while impressive, is still pretty small in sample size.

George Gwozdecky - Head Coach, Denver University Pioneers
Gwozdecky has an extremely impressive college coaching resume, and it's long enough that listing it out would take me all day, so just follow the above link. NCAA titles, first round NHL picks, and yearly contention for the Frozen Four should be enough to turn any one's head, and the Avs wouldn't even have to pay any relocation costs for him. He is also building a nice and tidy coaching tree, with this years NCAA runners-up Miami (OH) coach, Enrico Blasi, being one of his disciples.

There is always a risk in asking a coach to make a jump from college to the pros no matter how good the college coach is.


Patrick Roy Head coach/Owner Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

I have no doubt he would take the job if someone would just bother to ask him.





Joe Sacco Head Coach, Lake Erie Monsters (Col)

Frankly, I don't know what to say about him. Current speculation is that he's the leading candidate, but that is only speculation based on the fact that the Avs like to hire in house. He's been the head coach in Lake Erie for a couple seasons, and his record isn't good. Of couorse the Avs called up nearly every good player he had last season so I don't think his record is much of a barometer either way.

Frankly I think Sacco is the biggest gamble. He seems to need some polish, and I'd like to see him promoted to an assistant, but I'm not sure if I'm comfortable giving him the reigns, unless a strong experienced assistant is hired.

Dennis Savard Previously coach of the Chicago Blackhawks
I thought Denis Savard did a pretty good job with the Young Blackhawks, and I didn't really think his firing was justified. Quenneville came in and did a good job, and everyone just assumed it was obviously the right call.

But under Savard the Blackhawks were improving, and developing young talent. Obviously Kane and Toews are more talented than Galiardi and Stewart, but I think he brings a toughness and intensity that the Avs could use as well. He's not my first choice but he should surely be on the list of interviews and given a fair chance. The Avs may want to look into hiring him as an assistant coach as well.

Tony Granato Unemployed

Just seeing if you're still paying attention.




Note: frequent commenter, and shootout lover, thedoctor, has joined the site, and I'm sure he will have a couple thoughts on the situation as well. Please look for his posts.