Photo courtesy of 9News
The noise is getting louder and unease is growing across Denver and all of Pionation. And the answer is not coming for at least another 7-10 days.
What is going to happen with Monty – and the players, too? We’ve hardly had time to wear our championship hats and shirts – and now, this.
The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers has done features on both Monty’s future and the risk of potential player departures. The conversations and speculation at local dinner tables, coffee shops, and taverns are picking up steam as fans and friends of the program speculate about ‘the decision.’
But as we wait, consider these factors which may lower your blood pressure and provide some level of assurance:
- He just might stay. Look at the head coaching shopping list for NHL openings and they are lengthy and filled with a laundry list of capable NHL candidates waiting their turn. In fact, the conservative NHL culture tends to recycle coaches and assistant coaches like American baseball re-purposes the same skippers over and over again. Not many examples of college coaches taking the ‘Hakstol leap’ directly from college to the head of the class at the NHL. Instead, most of the candidates are waiting their turn behind a host of usual suspects – fired head coaches and the next batch of emerging NHL wunderkind assistant coaches.
- There will never be another Monty – true. There also will never be another Murray ‘the Chief’ Armstrong – DU’s John Wooden of college hockey with rings on five fingers. There will never be another George Gwozdecky who brought Denver 19 years of on-ice excellence and two titles – starting with a moribund Pioneer program that had nearly skated into irrelevance. Of course, DU has had a few head coaching clunkers, too- but let’s cast that aside for now because, well, let’s be positive.
- As for the players (student-athletes), it is widely understood by Montgomery and their NHL rights owners that most of DU’s players need additional development. They can either get another year of on-ice growth and education here (been to the beautiful DU campus lately?) or ride the buses out of Moosejaw or Green Bay. Ever lay out on DU’s Carnegie Green on a 70-degree day in February without sunblock? It’s killer!
Which takes us to our final point:
- Ron Grahame and Peg Bradley-Doppes. If not this year, in the next several years, they are going to have to find a replacement for Jim Montgomery. For the same reason there is a logjam at the NHL coaching hockey ranks, there are a number of skilled coaches waiting for an opportunity at a top tier University collegiate program like DU. Ron and Peg have proven the ability to identify coaching talent and bring that talent to Denver (Evidence? Look for the soon to be delivered ninth Directors Cup). Does anyone believe the duo are sitting around waiting for the shoe to drop without a plan? And let’s not forget, there are likely exceptional coaches, internal and external, drooling to run a program rich in excellence and tradition like Denver.
The cupboard ain’t bare folks.
In fact, remember, there was a similar situation four years ago when a relatively unknown coach came to DU following a local coaching icon – and he has done pretty well.
So, take a deep breath and relax – that is what Monty is doing now on vacation with his family.
Still not convinced and just as nervous now as you were before you read this?
Beer anyone? Let’s talk.