The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff made some questionable decisions in last night’s game. Do we have a problem? Some pundits and fans believe so.
The Colorado Avalanche still have a winning record and a solid position in the playoff race. Therefore, many fans and pundits shake off a loss like last night’s against the Carolina Hurricanes off. After all, no team is going to win all 82 games.
Well, last night wasn’t a game like all others. Many fans and sports writers attribute the loss to the coaching staff, specifically Jared Bednar.
All four of the main beats for the Colorado Avalanche — The Denver Post, The Athletic, Colorado Hockey Now, and DNVR — questioned one decision in particular. Nikita Zadorov didn’t play a single shift in the third period.
For instance, Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic points out that the team was at a scoreless tie when Bednar benched Zadorov. It doesn’t make sense to shorten your defensive bench when nothing overt appears to be wrong.
Evan Rawal of DNVR made an observation that Zadorov laid a big hit on Hurricanes forward — and Avs nemesis (my observation) — Nino Niederreiter late in the second period. The two exchanged words, and Zadorov rode the pine the rest of the night. Rawal opines that nearly taking a penalty could have set Bednar off, but it didn’t warrant shortening the defensive bench. His exact words:
“Considering the Avs were on the second half of a back to back, benching a defenseman for an entire period was a questionable choice, and the defenders looked pretty tired late in this one.”
Defensive breakdowns at the end of the game definitely cost the Colorado Avalanche two points. Rawal is getting very close to blaming Bednar.
Avs insider Adrian Dater, now with Colorado Hockey Now, delved more deeply into the issue, specifically remarking on Zadorov’s benching. He points out that the media did ask about the benching just to be told curtly it was a “coach’s decision.”
Dater also questions some of Bednar’s other coaching decisions, specifically line making. However, Dater struck gold in getting fans to weigh in on the issue with his tweets.
Because fans weren’t happy with the coaching decisions either.
One fan took a a light-hearted approach to the benching of Zadorov:
Another fan was especially harsh:
I have to agree with the “never takes any responsibility” part. When things are going well, it’s all “we.” However, when things have gone south, it switches to “I didn’t like.”
Another fan blamed Bednar for the loss:
Bednar has said flat out that players will earn their ice time and positions in the lineup. However, you do have to question that kind of message, one that may have cost the Colorado Avalanche points.
This fan starts questioning an issue I, personally, have long held with Bednar:
Personnel decisions. I have never been a big fan of the way Bednar makes his lineup decisions. I honestly feel he sometimes just throws spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks — he himself calls his linemaking a “blender.”
Another one that speaks to decision-making I, too, have observed:
He is not even-handed at all. A player like Zadorov can get benched for looking askance at another player, while someone like Ian Cole can take costly penalties night after night and suffer no consequences.
Coaches are always going to have their preferences. They’re always going to like some players’ games more than others. However, Jared Bednar’s prejudices may have cost the Colorado Avalanche last night’s game.
And when that starts happening, I don’t care where the team is in the standings, someone needs to make the coach accountable.