Don’t judge me too harshly, now.
This morning while I was conducting my daily “oh my God I’m gonna be late, which clean clothes should I throw on today” routine I happened to overhear a great quote from an unlikely source: the TV show “Charmed.” I have no idea what the episode was about, but the quote that follows definitely caught my attention.
Trust me, anger always feels better when it has a target.
This immediately set me to thinking about the Avs. (Hockey is never very far from my mind, so it’s not a big leap to go from “hurry get dressed” to “cool quote, TV” to “Colorado Avalanche.”) To say they have been underperforming is an understatement. They’ve also been maddening, disappointing, forgettable, and overlookable. They can dominate in one game and not even show up for the next. The Avs are below 500 again and at the bottom of the Northwest division in spite of the personnel changes and the presence of talent.
Did I already use the word “maddening”? Yes? Well, I’m invoking it again.
We are all upset about the current state of the Avs, but no one really knows what to do with all that energy. And it’s incredibly uncomfortable to just have general pissed-off feelings swirling around. The writers of “Charmed” were correct: it feels much better when you can direct that anger toward someone specific. I will take it one step further and say it feels best when you can then suggest a course of action to correct the problem.
I believe this impulse is at the core of the current cry for head coach Joe Sacco’s job. Now don’t get me wrong, clearly something needs to change, but simply installing a new coach (one we all know would come from inside the organization) is not a sure way to achieve immediate, positive change. And I understand that a large portion of the blame is deservedly cast in his direction..I mean, how many times does the dump-and-chase have to fail before a different style is used? But when any organization experiences failure the cause will rarely be one person. There is usually plenty of blame to go around.
Yesterday I heard part of an interview the Broncos’ Champ Bailey did with 104.3 The Fan. He mentioned joy at their recent success, noting with concern that “people start to buy into losing” (to hear the interview go to The Drive page and download The Drive Hour 1 11/29/11). A real concern for me is that the Avs will – or already have – slipped into a culture of losing. The instant losing ceases to sting, panic should ensue.
I say that to say this: there is clearly a lot wrong with the Colorado Avalanche. Goaltending needs to be better. Every player needs to show up and do their absolute best to play with 100% intensity every time they step foot on the ice – including Captain Hejduk. They must fight tooth and nail to stop the shift from a culture of winning to a culture of losing. If one has already been created, they need to fight even harder to change it. The fans need to be enthusiastic in their support. And the coaching staff needs to find a better way to instruct, lead, and inspire the individuals on the team.
Do the Avs need a coaching change? Perhaps. Plenty of teams fire their coaches for extended subpar performance. I would just caution fans not to allow Coach Sacco to become a convenient and cathartic target for our anger at a situation completely beyond our comprehension or control.