Yesterday afternoon, during a conversation with Sandy Clough and Mike Evans of FM 104.3/The Fan, Tony Granato, who'd beeen canned as head coach of your Colorado Avalanche a short time earlier, came across as the classiest of class acts, expressing gratitude to the franchise that treated him like excess ice shavings throughout a failed attempt to convince Patrick Roy to take his place behind the glass. Of course, Granato has been fitted with the no-respect collar by the Avs once before: After the better part of two seasons in charge earlier this decade, he was demoted to assistant coach in order to bring Joel Quenneville aboard. (He was elevated to the top job again after Quenneville was sent packing.) But while Granato had every right to unload on Pierre Lacroix and the Avs braintrust, he held his tongue. No doubt that's because he's hoping to catch on with another squad as soon as possible, and he didn't want to earn a rep as loudmouth, justified or not.
Yes, Granato was the scapegoat in this scenario. The only way he could have won consistently with the current lineup would have been if Paul Stastny, Wojtek Wolski and other young players had instantly transformed from promising to Sidney Crosby-esque, and it didn't happen. That said, Lacroix's quick trigger and no-tears behavior is preferable to the way the Colorado Rockies handled Clint Hurdle -- letting him stick around through several terribly mediocre seasons before the World Series fluke and almost two more afterward before finally bidding him farewell. Lacroix is clearly impatient for the Avs to get back to a position of prominence in the NHL, and while his other moves, like promoting bean-counter Greg Sherman into the GM's office, don't look like magic bullets, at least he's not passively waiting around for the situation to magically improve. That's bad news for Granato, but potentially better news for Colorado hockey fans.