Changing The Culture In Colorado

 

The Colorado Avalanche dealt their way into the trade deadline conversation. As  mentioned, The Avs acquired forward Steve Downie from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team also involved themselves in a trade with the San José Sharks at the deadline, sending Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi, along with a 7th round pick, to the Shark Tank. Hidden among the trades were various rumors of discontent by the players being shipped out of Denver. Last year, the same sort of rumblings occurred with trades involving the Avalanche. All of this rumored discontent begs the question: What has happened in Colorado?

Top minutes grabber Kyle Quincey fired the first salvo this year against the organization, after being part of the Downie trade. He mentioned the culture created by the organization kept many players on edge and worried about their future with the organization. Quincey also stated,”I truly believe, if you have confidence in a player, then give it to them, show it to them.” This is in reference to the fact that, on their current roster, only seven players have contracts through this season.

Kyle Quincey Colorado Avalanche

Quincey shed some light on what seems to be an ongoing problem in Colorado

As for Galiardi, TSN as well as several message boards around the net reported not only did T.J. come to camp slightly overweight, but that he also was at odds with Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. If those rumors are true, it makes sense that both sides would prefer a fresh start. Stewart and Anderson, two major pieces to Colorado’s rebuilding when they were in Denver, have never outright stated these same problems with Sacco, although they have hinted at it.

Matt Duchene Avalanche

Duchene, as well as several former teammates all have had their problems with the organization.(Icon SMI)

Current player’s on the roster also are having struggles visibly with Sacco, Early in the year, the coach had Matt Duchene playing on the fourth line to break him out of a slump. It is easy to see why that sort of roster move could actually further ruin a player’s confidence in both himself and the organization, like Quincey alluded. Certainly, a player who seems to play with emotions like Chris Stewart would find himself at odds in this system.

Rumors of that caliber certainly weigh on a franchise. If true, the organization certainly needs to find a way to correct issues concerning morale. It could be as easy as moving on from either Sacco or GM Greg Sherman (even both). In order to return to prominence, the team needs to not only be able to keep their own players, but also be seen as a destination for free agents. With rumors circling, it could be hard to corral a Zach Parise or Ryan Suter to help solidify a top spot in the Western Conference.

The recent moves, acquiring Steve Downie and Jamie Mcginn, may see a turning point in the culture of the team. Both players definitely will bring significantly more aggressive play to the game on the ice, which could ease tensions for other players in the locker room. For example, David Jones, who was behind almost every trade rumor involving the Avalanche, seems to have relaxed since Downie has been in the lineup.

In today’s sports climate, when rosters change dramatically every year, it is important for an organization to make the players feel as comfortable as possible during their stay with the team. If these rumors (I should stress most of these were never actually published, simply speculation at this point) are true, then Colorado could be in more trouble than it seems. The team has played well of late, and certainly has shown its potential. The Avalanche would be wise not to chase their young players away because of an unwelcoming atmosphere.

Michael Bannigan

Michael Bannigan

Aspiring journalist at Oakland University. Hockey is a way of life, and I look forward to sharing it with everyone.

One Comment

  1. Joaquim Baeta says:

    One may be grasping at straws, here.  Two things to consider about Quincey and Galiardi and their complaints about the team’s “atmosphere”:

    1. When Quincey recovered from his mid-season injury, Sacco delayed his return because the team was on a winning streak, lest he (Sacco) harm the chemistry they had at that point.  Instead of getting behind the team’s success, Quincey elected to gripe about the fact that he was not getting the ice time he felt he deserved.

    2. Galiardi has not shown himself to be the same player that dazzled fans in the team’s ’09/’10 playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.  Fans – and the team, I suspect – have been hoping to see that abrasive, high-energy player, but we only have in infuriating spurts.  He has been inconsistent and, lately, prone to ill-timed, momentum-killing mistakes and penalties. 

    I think it is unfair to take the evidence of these two players without listening to whatever good things any other players may have to say.  As always, the largest detractors are the ones that had the most to lose.

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