Thoughts on Quincey & his comments

So there’s been big drama in Avalanche land lately. First Kyle Quincey was traded to Tampa, where they turned him to Detroit, for a 1st round pick. So we’ll start there. I don’t really like this trade. Not that Downie won’t help the Avs. I think he brings some of what the Avs need. Some, to borrow a hockey cliché, “sandpaper” to the lineup.

But I feel like Quincey is high enough caliber to get more for him. This was confirmed yesterday when Jack Johnson, who only plays good hockey on the Powerplay, when he doesn’t have to actually play defense, was moved with a first round pick for Jeff Carter. I don’t really understand why Greg Sherman couldn’t have gotten a better deal than Downie, and I probably never will.

Take on the Trade| Jersey’s & Hockey Love

Then things got interesting. Kyle Quincey said these words to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports:

“Everyone is ready to get shipped out any day,” Quincey said. “There’s a lot of guys, their bags are packed beside the door, and they wouldn’t be unhappy to go – trust me. I know I had a big smile on my face, and all the guys were jealous. I think there’s a bunch of guys that were pissed off they weren’t in a package deal.”

“There’s guys that have been talked about for two, three weeks – and I was, too, right?” Quincey said. “That’s all I’m saying. With guys getting talked about all the time, your mindset kind of changes. It’s tough there because they’re in a dogfight. When you get talked about every day, it kind of wears on you. You start thinking, ‘Where am I going?’ “

“I truly believe, if you have confidence in a player, then give it to them, show it to them,” Quincey said. “When there’s so much uncertainty if those guys are going to be there next year, it would be nice for guys to get extensions. But that’s their policy, and that’s what they do.”

Quincey paused, then added: “Confidence, it comes and goes, and when it goes, it’s pretty tough to get it back.”

Needless to say, many Avs fans and followers had quite a bit to say on this (they are all interesting takes, and I suggest you read them all)

 | Adrian Dater | Mike Chambers | MHH-Fanpost | MHH-Comments

The first quote up there are the one’s gaining the most attention, and that’s not a surprise. They really make things awkward for his former teammates. First of all, they really put his teammates, especially his close friends, under a lot of scrutiny. Secondly, they hint at some immaturity and selfishness. Mike Chambers blog (linked above) has quite a bit of corroboration to that. First of all, they really put his teammates, especially his close friends, under a lot of scrutiny.  It’s one thing to be frustrated that you aren’t being used properly, such as when he was a healthy scratch earlier in the season (which was a ridiculous coaching decision, by the way). But if he also thinks he wasn’t being used as a “top-4” guy (as Chambers alluded too above) then he certainly has a bit of a selfish streak in him, because that’s insane. He was most certainly used as a top-4 guy while here in Colorado.

Of course a guy’s going to have friendships and have loyalty to his friends. But letting your friendships affect how you deal with management, or what you say about them on your way out the door is, frankly, unprofessional. It’s the shit that happens in High School. His responsibility as a friend is to sympathize with them and to talk with them. His responsibility as a respected teammate is to encourage them, and work with them. And his role as a professional is to voice those concerns to the coach, when necessary.

So I get Avs fans anger at him in that regard. It’s completely justified and it really makes Quincey look bad.

But I think he also said some things that had the (likely) intended effect: some of his comments were damning of Avalanche Management, and also valid complaints. His third quote above hints at some valid criticism at Avs management. As more and more players leave the Avs it’s becoming clear that, at the very best, Avs management has a severe communication problem with their most valued employees. At worst the Avs have become second class employers.

Ian Laperriere was offered an insulting contract when he was up for UFA. Craig Anderson was reportedly offered an extension, counter-offered, and then communication was broken off by management side. Adrian Dater and Terry Frei have hinted at & outright said, for years, that Avs management have always had a “take it or leave it” approach to contract negotiations. If the Avs even get the faintest whiff of that a player may want to go to arbitration that player is usually gone at earliest opportunity. They have also hinted that any kind of player discord or even complaints to management have been met with swift retribution, usually in the form of shipping a player out of town. That’s why Alex Tanguay was reportedly shipped out, a while ago. Any criticism of management is strictly prohibited. Now I don’t go around to the press badmouthing my company, but I have complained to my boss about my role in a project or something else.

And why hasn’t there been extension work for Duchene, O’Reilly or EJ yet? These guys are clearly part fo the future here and leaving them hanging isn’t really responsible. Obviously there’s time to work, but leaving these guys hanging isn’t the best option. Not to mention the Avs have to potentially re-negotiate UFAs like Winnik, McClement, Jones, Shane O’Brien & Hejduk.

The pieces of this puzzle are starting to add up that Avs management is Draconian to a nearly comical way. I can almost picture them reading “Mr. Burns (the Simpsons) guide to good management”. It’s almost as if the Avs prefer a world that operated like pre-free agency, when players were bought and sold and be seen and not heard.

It’s unfortunate that the players who have left and voiced complaints have been so inelequent about their criticisms of their former bosses, because I think there’s some very valid criticisms there. One day the Avs are going to cross the wrong player and the focus will turn to them instead of the player.