The Colorado Avalanche hired Jared Bednar, who was behind the bench for the 2016 Calder Cup-winning Lake Erie Monsters, as the franchise’s new head coach on Thursday.
“The thing that’s interesting about him is that he has a reputation for being pretty blunt,” relayed Insider Elliotte Friedman during a Thursday evening appearance on NHL Network. “Players that I’ve spoken to say it’s not necessarily a bad thing… What does a player hate the most? When they feel they’re not being told the truth about where they stand. A lot of players will tell you, ‘I would rather be told the truth, even if it’s not what I want to hear; as opposed to being told maybe what I do want to hear, but it may not be the real place about where I stand.’
“They say he’s very honest. He tells players how they’re doing, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are. And if they’re not impressing him or they’re not playing well, they’re going to know it.
“The other thing they talked about was a lot of structure. I think in Colorado, that’s one of the things they really wanted to deal with, is that at times they felt like their structure wasn’t very strong.”
The reason the organization needed a new head coach was because Patrick Roy decided to resign his post two weeks ago, putting the team in a bit of a difficult situation this late in the summer.
“It’s not ideal,” conceded Friedman. “Most teams, you try to hire your coaches and a lot of strong candidates are gone a couple of months ago. There’s a reason you very rarely see coaching jobs open at this time of year, because many of the best candidates have gone to other positions.
“I think at times Colorado, as they went through this process, I think they were worried there were going to be people who were going to say no to them. I don’t know of any teams that did that. I think some teams did say, ‘You can only have a window of a certain amount of time.’ But I think they were pleasantly surprised by some of the people they were able to interview in terms of, ‘We didn’t necessarily think they were going to get permission.’
“So maybe they didn’t get a lot of guys with a lot of experience being head coaches before, but I think they had some choices to make between guys who have bright futures as head coaches. Among the guys who didn’t get hired, I think that’s guys like Bob Boughner. Like Lane Lambert, who I think was probably the runner-up for this job, and Travis Green.”
Several key players on the Avalanche will be taking part in the quickly-approaching World Cup, which isn’t the best timing for a new head coach coming into training camp.
“I think that’s not easy. There’s no question about that.” agreed Friedman, who went on to provide a counter-balance to that notion. “I think the one thing that really helps you is that how many systems and ideas are players going to have that they haven’t seen before by the time they’re at this level in their careers. I mean, there’s not a lot of ways to reinvent the wheel. There’s wrinkles here and there. There’s responsibilities here and there. But I think generally, players have a good understanding of how they’re expected to play and what most systems are like.
“The other thing is you’re just hoping that if a guy plays at a high level at the World Cup, he comes to your camp or preseason in a real good frame of mind about how they’re playing.”
Source: NHL Network/ Transcript: Nichols