|Avalanche, coach Joel Quenneville go separate ways|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 09 May 2008 11:28|
Quenneville was 131-92-23 in Denver but just 2-2 in playoff series after inheriting a team that was on the slide after a decade of dominance in the NHL.
``After meeting with Joel, we mutually agreed that the best decision for both parties involved is to go separate ways,'' Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Francois Giguere said.
Giguere doesn't have a timeline for when he'll hire a new coach, but he does have one requirement - an up-tempo philosophy. He wants the Avalanche to play with more speed.
``We've always been an organization that's been a puck possession, upbeat, high tempo, high energy, attacking (team),'' Giguere said. ``That's the way the Avalanche have always played and I think that's the way I foresee this team continuing to play.''
The Avalanche were hit hard by injuries this season, and it spilled over into the postseason series against the Red Wings. Peter Forsberg (groin), leading scorer Paul Stastny (knee) and forwards Ryan Smyth (foot) and Wojtek Wolski (ribs) all joined Marek Svatos (knee) on the bench during Detroit's sweep.
``Joel Quenneville has an outstanding reputation in this business,'' Giguere said. ``When I was hired as a GM, I was a big believer in Joel. I still am a big believer in Joel. Sometimes, for whatever reasons, you need to go in separate ways. It doesn't mean you're not a good coach.''
Quenneville was an assistant with the Avalanche during their Stanley Cup run in 1996, then was hired away by St. Louis. He spent eight seasons with the Blues, becoming the team's winningest coach with 307 victories. In 2004, Quenneville became the fourth coach in Avalanche history.
Before coaching, Quenneville was a defenseman in the NHL for 13 seasons, including a stint with the former Colorado Rockies. He also played for Washington, New Jersey, Toronto and the former Hartford Whalers.
Quenneville coached his 800th game this season, joining Bob Pulford and Jacques Lemaire as the only coaches in NHL history to both play and coach in 800 or more games.