By Brennan Boudreau
Colorado Avalanche Writer
The Colorado Avalanche head coach sweepstakes are over, and at the end of the day the winners are the Avalanche core. Jared Bednar, previously the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliates Lake Erie Monsters, has been named the new head coach of the Colorado Avalanche.
This odd-timed August hiring was needed due to the ill-timed departure of Patrick Roy from the Avs, which you can read about here.
The position was said to come down to three final candidates (Lambert, Dineen, Bednar), but Bednar ended up being Colorado’s choice. Bednar is coming off a tremendous season in the AHL where he led the Lake Erie Monsters to the Calder Cup. He has over nine years in professional coaching experience split between his time in the ECHL and the AHL. What seems obvious now is the effect Chris MacFarland (Assistant General Manager for the Avalanche) has had in the front office. MacFarland, who also made his way via Columbus, has now added both the head coach (Bednar) and defensive assistant coach (Pratt) from the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate team. But how they got hired isn’t the important thing here, what’s important is what they will do for the Avalanche club now that they have been hired.
Bednar and Pratt combined for a coaching style that was uptempo and allowed their more creative players to remain creative, as long as they were also responsible for their defensive positions. Pratt, was seen as the driving force in the transitional breakout that seemed so easy in Lake Erie, while Bednar held the motive that if you don’t have the puck, that it’s your job to get it, and if you do have it, do your best to keep it. This will be a huge change from Roy’s chip and chase that was scrutinized so much during his tenure. Bedner also pushes for a relentless forecheck and fast paced game, where the defensemen tend to jump into the play and forwards may need to swing back. Forwards being defensively responsible may need to be taught more but the uptempo style of play should work wonders for the Avalanche core of MacKinnon, Landeskog, Duchene, Johnson, Barrie, and perhaps Rantanen.
So the winners of this acquisition should definitely be the Avalanche core. They should benefit the most out of this, and considering Sakic has put his trust in them this summer, they’re being given every opportunity to do well with these ‘behind the bench’ hires.