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Woody Paige: Dreadful Avalanche should look to the past again

February 12, 2017 Updated: February 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm
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Colorado Avalanche's Nathan MacKinnon, right, falls to the ice after colliding with Vancouver Canucks' Troy Stecher during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Josh Kroenke should fire his Avalanche coach, then his very own self as president.

Then, as the Avs' quasi-pseudo owner, Josh should beg Pierre LaCroix to return as chief executive, and LaCroix could hire Claude Julien as coach.

And LaCroix, general manager Joe Sakic and Julien should offer up for trade everybody on the team except Matt Duchene, Nate MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog.

That's a start.

The Awfulanche is the worst team in the National Hockey League, the worst team in the franchise's history and the worst professional team in Denver since the 2002-03 Nuggets.

The Avysmals may be the worst hockey team since the 1975-76 Kansas City Scouts. Scouts? They were so bad the team moved to Denver and was called the Colorado Rockies, where they remained appalling until moving on to New Jersey.

The Averrations are so bad Quebec City doesn't even want the team back.

They have won less than 30 percent of their games this season - this from a franchise that finished above .500 in 16 of 22 seasons and with 40 or more victories 14 times.

The Avs' record is 15-35-2 overall and a ludicrous 7-19-1 at home. They make the Coyotes howl in glee. Their goal differential is -70, compared to the Capitals' +71.

Lord Stanley would turn its head in shame.

Avalanche loyalists are turning off their telecasts in disgrace. Viewership is down 57 percent.

At least the Nuggets are vying for the eighth playoff spot, cause this town needs a spring parade.

Josh was given stewardship of the basketball-hockey franchises in 2010, and the Avalanche will finish out of the playoffs for the sixth times in seven seasons. The Nuggets reached the postseason three consecutive years, but haven't sniffed it the past three. Neither has gotten out of the first round with Josh at the helm. "Our goal is to win championships. We're not into just making the playoffs," Josh said three years ago. Maybe he should lower his expectations.

Success has been rare on 36-year-old Josh's resume.

He did trade Carmelo Anthony. He has fired two Nuggets coaches, including George Karl, and one Avalanche coach, while another, Patrick Roy, quit just before last season. Josh must fire this one - Jared Bednar - soon.

And, once more, the Nuggets and the Avalanche are attendance bottom-feeders - the Nugs last in the NBA and the Avs 25th in the NHL.

If Josh wasn't Stan's son, he probably would have been fired by now.

The Avalanche need the attention of someone other than just Sakic. He lost a valuable asset, friend and partner when the impulsive Roy bolted.

That's why a LaCroix LaComeback makes complete sense.

Adrian Dater, the best Denver hockey writer for decades, recently had a major scoop for bleachereport.com, reporting that LaCroix would consider a proposal to rejoin the Avs in an executive role.

A few months ago LaCroix wrote me a note of congratulations on the move to The Gazette and indicated that his health had improved considerably. He had to retire from the Avalanche four years ago because of life-threatening leg issues. Family members who had kept me aware of his dire circumstances say he has recovered remarkably. In fact, Dater wrote, LaCroix flew in quietly from his Las Vegas home for an Avalanche game.

Josh should step aside and allow LaCroix and Sakic to run the operation without his interference. And they should immediately hire Julien, who had been the longest-tenured NHL head coach until being fired last week by the Bruins.

The experienced triumvirate could figure out how to elevate the team to glory.

Under LaCroix' leadership and Sakic's captaincy, the Avs won nine straight division titles, appeared in six Western Conference finals, won two Stanley Cups and attracted 484 consecutive sellouts. And he acquired Roy.

LaCroix, Sakic and Julien can began reconstructing the Avs by the March 1 trading deadline and before next season.

LaCroix can claim his rightful place with Sakic in the Hall of Fame, and Julien can win another Stanley Cup.

And the Avalanche won't be known as Josh's Folly.

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