July 6, 2006 12:00 AM
Avs not worth beans
I went through four concepts to get the one I liked best. I'm holding one of the roughs captive in case I use it later on.
The dismantling of the Avalanche goes back to Stan Kroenke. He is content to ride the Carmelo bandwagon as long as he can and sell off the Avs for parts to subsidize the whole thing. The NHL salary cap provides a convenient excuse for Kroenke as he moves his financial emphasis and personal interests to the NBA side of his investment. He never has been much of a hockey guy anyway. This is just my opinion, but I believe years from now we'll find out the real reason Pierre Lacroix, the best GM in the NHL, decided to take on new duties at the end of the season. I believe it has something to do with the austerity program the Avs are now implementing.
Several people have left blog comments challenging my opinion about Kroenke as an owner. That's great. That's what I want the blog to be, a constant conversation among all of us. But before you label me a total idiot for claiming Kroenke is one of the worst owners in sports, let me tell you why I think so.
He rode into town amid Avalanche fever and the opening of the Pepsi Center. Instant revenue. The Nuggets were a disaster, so he had Kiki Vandeweghe dismantle the team (Hmmm, bring in a new GM to dismantle the team? Where have we heard that before? Oh, yeah. Pierre Lacroix-Francois Giguere). In the meantime Kroenke hid behind closed doors from everyone, especially the media, and let Vandeweghe be the fall guy. And let's face it. The Nuggets would probably still be lousy and be the Charlotte Bobcats had they not LUCKED into getting Carmelo Anthony. Oh, how we forget. The Nuggets were oh-so-close to being forced into taking Darko Milicic with that third pick. But thanks in part to Larry Brown, who probably saved the Nuggets by taking Darko, the Nuggets got a reprieve. And Kroenke got in Carmelo something he could bank his future on. He let the Avalanche's momentum play out (even keeping Sakic aboard is part of that plan), which enables him to move more resources to the team he hopes can make him the most money in the years to come. And he continues to do it as a hands-on owner but behind closed doors because it makes him less accountable for it all, good or bad. At least, Mark Cuban puts it out there. Maybe a bit too much, but at least you know he's there. To me Mark Cuban might be the best owner in sports. Followed maybe by Pat Bowlen. I'd give Pat a little more credit, but I still blame him for Jake Plummer.
And don't even talk about the Monforts. They aren't owners really. They're like the guys we knew in high school who borrowed their Dad's fancy sports car for the prom. They tried to act all cool, but they ended up backing it into a tree because they really had no idea how to drive the thing to begin with.