The Avs immaturity problem

Ian LaPaerriere

Andrew Brunette

Craig Anderson

Chris Stewart

Colby Cohen

Kyle Quincey

Kevin Porter

TJ Galiardi

Dan Winnik

Ryan O'Reilly

These were all names that I came up with, off the top of my head, that have had comments or actions that belay some level of criticality with Avs brass over the last few seasons (feel free to add any I missed in the comments). This doesn't include guys like Chris Drury and Alex Tanguay, who also had some issues with Avs management, but in a different era with different management (save one important guy!)

Now, it would be unfair to not acknowledge players I thought the Avs treated fairly. The Avs appeared to give Peter Mueller a more than fair chance with his concussion problems (glad he's doing well in FLA, by the way). They had the utmost patience with the enigmatic Wojtek Wolski (he's not Russian so I think I broke a rule calling him enigmatic). And there are a lot of former Avs who are still connected to the club, especially from the glory days.

But as I said on twitter tonight, the Avs appear to be like the mafia: Family if you're in, persona non-grata if there's a probelm.

Not all these guys handled their situation with the most maturity. Anderson, Stewart, Quincey and now O'Reilly could have handled their situation better (not to mention C. Cohen and Galiardi). Some of these guys have behaved immaturely and childish. But how many players have to leave disgruntled before we start to acknowledge there may be two sides to the problem? Maybe Avs management, and their famous (some {me} would argue notorious) take-it-or-leave-it negotiation style have been a hindrance on the club. That there may be behind-the-scenes stuff that have an impact. Part of the job description for an NHL general manager, and the entire management, these days is dealing with immature millionaire athletes who may have a bit of an ego to them. This is certainly not absolution for any or all of the players here, but it's still a dose of reality that Avs management appears to be unable to accept.

At what point does enough smoke reveal fire?

One's an anomaly, two's a variance and three's a pattern right? What's 10?. I don't like it when sports columnists spitball, because sometimes I think it's an easy out for writing a smart story, but it can be justified on occasion. So I'm just going to spitball here; but maybe the Avs management (code: Pierre LaCroix) isn't cut out to handle modern NHL athletes. What percentage of late teen to mid-20 somethings that you know aren't immature dumbfucks? Now how many more would be that way with millions of dollars and a modicum of fame to their name? That's not absolving it, but part of the job of an NHL management is dealing with rich, star (or not-really-star) athletes. Maybe the Avs aren't thrilled with some of these guys behavior and attitude towards the business side of hockey, but it's no secret that modern athletes have much more savvy and experienced business advice at their disposal than they did even ten years ago.  It seems to me that the Avs have adjusted poorly to the new breed of athlete.

At some point it's the Avs responsibility to act like the responsible party and be the more mature men, bury the hatchet and act like reasnable aduts, right? My dad (sorry, this is a backwoods parabale so I should state it better) My Pappy always told my sister and I that he doesn't care who started it, but it takes two to fight. well the Avs have quite a few fights here, and they can't possibly be innocent in all of them. 

Sure, seasoned vets, like Laperriere and Brunette, may have handled their comments more maturely, but they were seasoned mature vets. The rest of those guys made some level of public comments criticising Avs management. On some level these are still bland, boring, vanilla, hockey players who don't give opinions on anything, so the fact they spoke out on anything shouldn't be as easily dismissed as it has been, IMO. Yet there are a lot of players that seem to be ok calling out Avs management, saying that playing for the Avs is a bad situation. The only other team that I can think of with as much player-management dysfunction is the Isles. I'm not sure why Avs management hasn't gotten more slack for this.

Sure, there's nothing definitive here, but is has sure gotten pretty smokey at the Pepsi center.