Colorado Avalanche: An Open Letter to Jared Bednar

CENTENNIAL, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Avalanche coach Jared Bednar talks his team through a drill during the first day of training camp at Family Sports Ice Arena in Centennial, Colorado on September 23, 2016. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Avalanche coach Jared Bednar talks his team through a drill during the first day of training camp at Family Sports Ice Arena in Centennial, Colorado on September 23, 2016. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /

We here at Mile High Sticking have some suggestions for Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar about all manner of coaching decisions.

Just a message to Colorado Avalanche Coach Bednar from some concerned Mile High Sticking Contributors, mostly me.

Dear Bedsy,

This letter isn’t going to be all the things I find myself yelling at my television or begging of the team when we see them in person, but it will contain a few. I mean, “Get it out of your own end,” and “Y’all all owe Varly a drink/dinner!” (the latter slightly differentiated based off my own state of affairs at the time, of course), are not all your fault, Coach.

But there are a few things I think we need to talk about and my mama always told me if you’re going to give a criticism, you need to make it a sandwich so here’s the list both good and bad.

Point 1: Great job letting the 1st Line alone.

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Last season there seemed to be an issue with moving Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog between the first and second lines. The people who think this was a good idea don’t seem to understand that when Landeskog was there setting up the plays, the first line was more productive, the numbers showed it, but for some reason the Captain kept getting shifted around.

Now I will the the first person to admit that the second line could benefit from Landy’s presence and leadership as well, but he is only one man and couldn’t be expected double shift like EJ did all last season.

However, we learned in the second Avs In Your Earholes podcast that there is no intention to change them up this season. This has been supported in seeing the lines the first few games, which is good news to all of us and our scoring. And on the anniversary week of their line formation I want to say “Thank you for just letting the boys play.”

Point 2: Dump and Chase.

Or the full title that I tend to yell at my screen, “Dump and Chase: What the hell is that?” Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that this is an old school hockey move. I’ve been around a minute. I’m willing to acknowledge that when you pushed this type of play we were in the middle of the Colorado Avalanche season that shall not be named and there was some desperation to even get the puck near the net, much less as a shot on goal.

But now we have a problem. When the boys start to get flaily (yes, I know I am making up a word but it’s the best way to describe it), and they are getting out-skated and out-played, they revert to this. And I hate to be the one to break it to you Coach, but with the style of hockey that is being played by most teams these days, this doesn’t usually work in our favor.

Point 3: Not Overusing Varly.

I mentioned this in a previous post, but I am both not conceited enough to believe you sit around on the plane reading my contributions (but I think you should) and feel that it is worth repeating. Semyon Varlamov is very breakable, and that is why this goalie battle is such a good idea.

Having another goalie, especially one of a high quality like Philipp Grubauer, is such a spectacular call. He can take the strain off of our first string net minder and we don’t have to be concerned about falling behind in the process. Well done.

Point 4: Leave the Defensive Parings Alone.

There are so many things wrong with messing up any of the Colorado Avalanche lines but it is most evident when you can’t decide which D-man is going to get the nod this time. Mostly because how can we expect any of them, but especially a young player like Nikita Zadorov, to develop chemistry with anyone when his partner changes like the flip of a light switch?

I mean, the guy has already answered the call to change sides and now he has to change up the way he plays not only based off the team that they are up against but on whether its Mark Barberio or Patrik Nemeth out there with him? (Two radically different players.) Help a guy out and give him a partner he can count on.

Editor’s note: That goes double for the Erik Johnson-Samuel Girard pairing.

Point 5: Marko Daňo.

I don’t know who initiated the waiver claim, whether it was you or GM Joe Sakic, but let me congratulate you on the way you are using him. Personally, I am liking what I am seeing so far from the former Jet. Would I like to see him scoring more? Of course. However I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he needs to get his skates under him some. He seems to have a lot of get up and hustle though, which is nice to see.

Point 6: The Fourth Line.

I’m calling this section The Fourth Line but in truth it’s just about playing time. If your fourth line has more playing time than your second or third line, it isn’t your fourth line. You follow me? Because prior to J.T. Compher getting hurt there seemed to be some confusion on this. Just something to keep in mind when everyone is healthy again. Give the boys their ice time and respect.

Point 7: Colin Wilson.

Many of us are super excited that Colin Wilson has accepted the role of “Team Dad.” We needed one of those and he seems, from the outside anyway, to have slipped into the role like a natural. As mentioned in Nadia’s extensive post on Tyson Jost, placing Wilson on a line with both Jost and Kerfoot was just what they needed, an anchor to keep them rooted in the play, taking shots, and finally seeing some follow through.

We could definitely see that the flatmate trio needed some serious mentorship and just from some of the instagram posts we can see that they are getting it. And it seems to be helping him as well. Unlike last year, when Willy was a good player but appeared to be a little lost in finding his fit, he is producing like all of us expected him to when the announcement was made of the Avs acquiring him.

Next. Dries and Kamenev Score 1st NHL Goals. dark

All in all, we really like what we are seeing this season and can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.

All the best,

Colorado Avalanche fans (mostly me)