Avalanche Thoughts – Giguere Speaks The Truth
My thoughts on Jean-Sebastien Giguere ripping his team following another loss.
Following the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, which solidified their standing at the worst place in the league, goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere ripped everyone. He criticized game habits, practice habits, lack of focus, and pretty much said everything is wrong with the team and organization without singling out certain people.
Here are some choice quotes from Adrain Dater’s post on DenverPost.com:
“As long as we don’t understand that we have to play better in our zone, we’ll never win any games. We have to do a better job in our own zone. That’s where it starts. We have to learn this at some point.”
“We talk about it every day. At some point, we have to understand. There’s no more excuses. It’s not about being young, it’s not about … we have to put our head into the game.”
“Some guys are more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the games, than playing every minute of the games. Quite frankly, I don’t care about your Vegas trip right now.”
“It’s not constructive. We have to find a way to get out of this losing mentality, you know? It starts with me and the guy beside me and everyone has to do their part.”
“It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed to be here right now. It’s not even funny.”
“And it’s just embarrassing, the way we, you know, the energy we have in the room and the way we approach practices and the way we approach this game. It’s not how you’re going to win any games in this league. I mean, this is a team (Calgary) that we can beat if we set our minds to it, and every day is the same story. I don’t know what to say. I’m beyond words right now.”
“There’s not one easy game in this league, so you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play well every night. You’ve got to find a way to get yourself motivated and focused. It has nothing to do with who you’re playing. It’s about how you prepare yourself and how you approach the game. It’s not about which team you’re playing. Yeah, everybody’s going to get motivated when you play the Hawks. I mean, the building is full and that’s easy to do. But can you get yourself going when you play the Calgary Flames? Can you do that right now? And obviously, we’re too immature to do that.”
Sadly, these comments aren’t really anything new. Following a March 27th loss to the Flames, Matt Duchene had the following to say, “It’s a joke. It’s embarrassing. We put ourselves being the 8-ball every night, every single night. Enough is enough. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a joke . . . They get in at 3 in the morning (today) after a loss and they want it more than us. It just can’t be that way. We played well the next 40 but we lost by a goal because we allowed two early ones.”
Since beating the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 on March 10 to end their point streak, the Avs have three wins in 16 games. If you watched them dominate the best team in the league a month ago, you wouldn’t think this would be possible. But it’s true. And despite the slide, besides a couple of line up tweaks and one minor trade, nothing has changed.
I’ve exhausted the Joe Sacco topic. Frequent readers know that I wanted him fired the day after he was hired. But I’m just a man with a computer giving my thoughts on a team that I’ve supported ever since they moved to Denver. Now the players are speaking their mind and that’s something that management can’t ignore.
Giguere shouldn’t be ignored. He’s been in the league since 1998. He’s been on good teams and bad teams. He’s won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy. Besides Milan Hejduk, who is currently injured and isn’t the type of guy to speak up in the first place, no one is more qualified to give their opinion on how things are going than Giguere. It’s actually nice that someone is showing some passion after years of watching guys sit on their hands while things weren’t going well.
So who’s to blame?
I think it starts at the top. Greg Sherman and the Avs clearly lost the deal that sent Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk to the St. Louis Blues for Erik Johnson, Jay McClemment, and a draft pick that turned out to be Duncan Siemens. Stewart has put up 83 points in 142 games for the Blues. Not outstanding numbers, but look at the numbers of David Jones, who has 89 points in 177 games. So who would you rather have, Stewart, who is 25, at 3 million dollars or Jones, who is 28, at 4 million? Shattenkirk was the biggest loss in the deal though. In 144 games with the Blues, he has 81 points and is a plus 31 as a defenseman. This where things really hurt though. In 123 games with the Avs, Johnson only has 40 points and is a minus 14. It’s possible that Siemens, who scouts are very high on as a great two way defender, evens this deal out a bit, but for right now the Avs are clear losers.
I didn’t mind the deal at first, feeling that Stewart had fallen out of favor with Sacco (which, shocker, really says more about Sacco) and that Johnson could turn into a #1 defenseman. Well Stewart has found his game under a head coach who actually knows what he’s doing, Shattenkirk proved to be just as good as many thought he would be, and Johnson hasn’t done anything to make me believe that he isn’t a #1 overall bust.
Sherman also handed out that terrible contract to David Jones and looked foolish throughout the whole Ryan O’Reilly situation.
On paper, he hasn’t constructed a terrible team. After all, it’s not his fault that Johnson, Jones, Paul Stastny and Jan Hejda are under-performing or that Steve Downie tore up his knee in the second game of the season. But when a team doesn’t gel on the ice, some blame has to be placed on the general manager for not putting the right pieces together.
My thoughts on Joe Sacco haven’t changed over the years, mainly because he hasn’t given me a reason to change them. He’s lost the team. It’s as simple as that. He was never a good coach to begin with, so when you combine that with the fact that no one is listening, you get what the Avs are putting on the ice. Pierre McGuire doesn’t think Joe Sacco is the problem. That pretty much tells me that Joe Sacco is the problem.
Some people want to put the blame on captain Gabriel Landeskog, and while I don’t think he deserves as much criticism as has been thrown his way, as the captain of the team, he does deserve some of the responsibility. That said, Landeskog was made captain for his on-ice leadership, which hasn’t really changed as he still plays hard every shift. Let’s not forget that he’s only 20 years old, and even though this is a young team, it’s tough to take orders from a guy who can’t even drink yet. That’s why it’s more impactful when a guy like Giguere says those things as opposed to Landeskog. One day Landeskog will be able to say those things and people won’t ignore him for being too young. But not today. Sorry to say this because he is the captain of the team and the captain should be heard, but Landeskog just doesn’t command the same kind of respect as Giguere. Again, one day he will. But not today.
In reality, Landeskog shouldn’t have been named captain to begin with, but with Ryan O’Reilly, the more logical choice given his work ethic and leadership qualities, holding out, the Avs wanted to make some positive headlines. I think this year has proven that Matt Duchene should’ve been the captain. I question the effort of a lot of guys on and off the ice, but I’ve never questioned Duchene. He’s busted his ass to become an offensive star and he’s taken responsibility even when things aren’t his fault. I’d hate for the Avs to take away the captaincy from Landeskog because he should be allowed to grow into the role, which I think he will, but Duchene should have an “A” on his sweater next season.
Giguere said what all Avalanche fans have been thinking for at least a month now. It’s frustrating and embarrassing to watch this team. I doubt any changes will be made this year, but the whole organization needs an overhaul before the puck drops on next season.