Colorado Avalanche Coach is in over his Head

Nov 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar looks on in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar looks on in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche’s rookie coach, Jared Bednar, is in over his head. Avs front offices did a disservice to him and to the team in hiring him.

One month before rookie camp, the Colorado Avalanche hired Jared Bendar as their new head coach.

Bednar had achieved success in the AHL. He coached the Lake Erie Monsters to Calder Cup victory last year. However, Bednar had no NHL experience — either as a coach or as a player.

What Jared Bednar did have was a link to current Avs assistant GM Chris MacFarland. Both come from the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.

Now, what’s frustrating is that the Colorado Avalanche interviewed five potential coaches. Of the five, only Bednar had no experience in the NHL — the other four were assistant coaches in the NHL. One, Kevin Dineen, had even helped coach the Chicago Blackhawks to Stanley Cup victory.

On the flip side, we had Bednar. The only thing GM Joe Sakic has really said about choosing Bednar over more qualified candidates is “I like the system” Bednar outlined in the interview.

According to the original conference call, when Bednar was announced as Colorado Avalanche head coach, Sakic thought Bednar’s system would complement the Avs’ “fast forward group” and “up-tempo pressure game.”

Well, we can now see that Bednar’s systems and the Avs team is good for dead last in the NHL — and one of the most embarrassing (10-1 to the Montreal Canadiens) defeats in franchise history. It wasn’t just the score — there have been bad ones over the years. It was the pure ineptitude of the players during the game.

A couple years ago the Ottawa Senators dropped an embarrassing game to the Boston Bruins. Then-coach Paul MacLean remarked that the Senators organization ought to throw the Bruins a few bucks for teaching their players how to play hockey. Last night’s loss to the Canadiens was like that.

In a post-game press conference, Bednar took blame for the loss:

"“I’m going to take the blame for that one because we weren’t prepared to start the game. They’re the best team in the league with the best record at home and we’re all the way down in the standings and we weren’t prepared to play. So that one’s on me.”"

That’s noble, and possibly even true. However, I don’t mean this post to be a knock at Jared Bednar. I simply think he’s in over his head.

More from Mile High Sticking

Coaching is a tough job. It takes a knowledge of the sport and game that’s unparalleled. You have to be more knowledgeable and a faster thinker than the opponent. No coach is all the time, but that’s how you get super-successful coaches like Joel Quenville — they’re sharper more often than not.

At the NHL level, you add a whole new host of problems. You start dealing with a faster, more intense, smarter game. You also start dealing with a different caliber of player. You’ve got your richly-paid youngsters and the vets just trying to keep their jobs.

That’s a lot of psychology going on in addition to the fast, intense, smart game at the NHL level.

With the Colorado Avalanche, you also add a whole new level of psychology. I’ve said it again and again — the Avs are ever a mental team. They get behind, they lose their heads and start trying to do things all by themselves. They get ahead, they take the foot off the gas. Their new trick is starting games tentatively, afraid to make a mistake until they’ve already made it and the game is lost.

The idea of trying to sort out the Colorado Avalanche is intense. It’s no wonder a humble man from a tiny town in Canada with no NHL experience at all is overwhelmed.

Next: Avs Should Have Gotten Radulov

Joe Sakic shouldn’t have succumbed to the nepotism of hiring his assistant GM’s CBJ croney. He should have hired a more-experienced candidate. Because now the Colorado Avalanche are dead-last in the NHL with seemingly no chance of even being relevant, much less making the playoffs. And poor Jared Bednar has the stink of NHL failure all over him.

Is it too late to call Kevin Dineen back? I hear Gerard Gallant is also looking for work.