Coach Granato: The Other View

It was announced today that Tony Granato, brother to women’s hockey star Cammi Granato, and former head coach of the Avalanche, is getting another shot as the head cheese.

And I think that’s fine.

I would imagine that some of the other Avs bloggers are thinking I should have my head examined for that statement, but I believe that the Avs could do much worse. Some are looking at this as past mistakes being made again, but I have a different take on things.

Previous Experience:

Shane from Colorado Avalanche Talk had this to say about Granato’s last stint as head coach:

A dream team involving Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Alex Tanguay, Milan Hejduk, Teemu Selanna, Paul Kariya, Rob Blake, Adam Foote and on and on it goes. With a team like that, fans had high hopes of a birth in the Stanley Cup finals. In fact, expectations were so high that the season was captured on film.

Those are pretty lofty expectations (not just from Shane, but from all over the fan base). How soon we forget that Patrick Roy had just left the team the previous season, or that

Looking at that “dream team” a little closer, Kariya has been a disappointment since leaving the Ducks, Selanne needed knee surgery desperately, Tanguay was soon to be trade bait, and there weren’t many players after that. Liles was unseasoned, a few players were traded away for scraps, and there was plenty of dead weitght to go around (Cummins, Worrell, Gratton, Sauve). I mean, come on, it was a good idea to bring in Tommy Salo as a veteran backup?

I mean, seriously, is it Granato’s fault that Paul freaking Kariya scored only 11 goals that season? He had 36 points in 51 games. Must be Granato’s fault.

Worst Power Play:

This season, the power play was at it’s worst ever, ranking in the bottom of the league. And while the power play may be on Granato’s shoulders, it’s the head coach who holds the ultimate responsibility. I think we saw enough this season to realize that Coach Q had very little in the way of strategy, other than making constant line changes.

Know your Lineup:

It was pretty obvious that Coach Q, in his few years with the team, had little understanding of the players he was lording over. Line combo after line combo, you would rarely go an entire period before things were “mixed up.” I have yet to understand how that is good for a team, but hey, whatever. Granato has been with the team for long enough to have a handle on things. He knows his players, and should know what to expect. And hopefully, where to put them.

Playoffs:

Maybe this is where I can’t figure out why people are so hacked off about Granato. It wasn’t Granato who missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. And when you look at it, with Paul Kariya playing ONE playoff game, and Teemu getting only assists, how much more do you want from your “dream team?” Heck ,even Blake missed two games, and Tanguay missed three. I’m just not seeing the issue here. Making it past the Stars may seem like an easy task, but I beg to differ.

Doing something:

Coach Q never did anything on the bench, except get hacked off at the refs every so often. It was like this mustache had a death grip on his lips. Granato, on the other hand, is a fire plug. Remember his yelling match with Mike Babcock? Sure, it was dumb, but it sure was entertaining. I give him points just for being passionate.

Grooming:

What do you think Granato has been doing for the past few years? Being moved up again makes me believe that he has earned the position. At least, that’s what I want to believe, and I will until proven otherwise.

In a nutshell, I’m going to give Granato the benifit of the doubt here. I know I’m not going to change any minds on this one, and frankly, that isn’t my job. That’s up to Coach G.

But just to be clear on my stance here, in the past few seasons, under Coach Q, the Avs:

  • Missed the playoffs for the first time
  • Got seriously owned by the Red Wings
  • Lacked stability in every department
  • Needed last minute band aids at the trade deadline just to make it into the playoffs

Frankly, I’m ready to look towards the past for a little bit here. That’s what the playoffs were about, why not next seasoon?

Welcome back, Coach G.

Comments

  1. It’s been a full day (and 3 beers) but I’m slightly warming up to the idea, but i’m not excited about it. As I’ll say tomorrow It’s not that I don’t like Granato, it’s that I think there are three candidates out there that are much better suited for the position (Dineen, McLellan and Burns), and two others that probably are as well (Wilson and Tortarella).

  2. “I would imagine that some of the other Avs bloggers are thinking I should have my head examined for that statement”

    Hell no! It’s about time we had some disagreement in the Avs blogger circles :)

    I’m not terribly upset about it by any means, I just feel a fresh perspective was needed behind the bench. In a way I’m glad the search is over this quickly. You knew that the delay was just ripe for another batch of “Who’s it gonna be?” from us while we try and forget that the playoffs are still going on.

    Granato’s experience with the team should certainly count for something but I do worry he may have picked up bad habits from Q including benchings as a motivator.

    In the end, I just have trouble seeing Granato as a head coach. He gives off a supporting cast vibe but not a leading man vibe if you know what I mean ;)

    “It was like this mustache had a death grip on his lips”

    Best line of the off-season so far.

  3. “Wilson and Tortorella”

    I’d take Granato over those two. I’ve never liked Wilson for reasons I can’t put my finger on. He just looks like a dick. Oh, there it is. And Torts seems to just be bitchy 24/7. I don’t think that would suit the Avs.

  4. I have to run off to work this morning, but I will respond later today, guys.

  5. For what it’s worth I agree with you.

    TG will be better on goaltenders and TG will be better with the younger players. I happen to also think he will play a more transition-styled offense.

    I think Cloutier needs to come off of the defensive coach position though. I’d like to see some shake-up there.

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