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Avalanche GM Greg Sherman says he’s “very confident” in his abilities

Jul 8, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Steve Tambellini, Greg Sherman AP

There’s no question that Colorado Avalanche GM Greg Sherman has had his share of doubters since free agency opened on July 1. Actually, some would say that he’s been under fire since the moment he pulled the trigger on the blockbuster trade that sent power-forward Chris Stewart and blossoming defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (and a pick) to St. Louis for Erik Johnson and Jay McClement (and a pick). It certainly didn’t help that the Avalanche only had one victory in 21 games between the end of January and the middle of March. Such is life around a team that finishes with the second worst record in the league.

The naysayers have become loud enough that Terry Frei of the Denver Post talked to Sherman about it at Semyon Varlamov’s press conference on Thursday.

“I’m very confident in my abilities to do the job I have to do,” Sherman said. “This particular job, while player personnel decisions are a big part of it, there are multiple facets to running a hockey club. I’m very confident in the role.”

Sherman isn’t shying away from it: For better or worse, these are “his” moves and he’ll be accountable for them.

“A hundred percent,” he said. “I make the decision. I’m surrounded by great hockey people, but at the end of the day, make the decision and move forward. I and we believe what we’ve done in the last couple of weeks, culminating with last Friday, has upgraded this hockey club. We’ve addressed the areas that were a priority for us and we believe we have put ourselves in position to continually grow this team together and get us back to where we rightfully belong.

“I don’t think it’s any different than any other major organization or sports organization. I surround myself with strong hockey people. I come to the hockey decisions. The recommendation is made and at the end of the day, I make the final call. So to me, it starts and ends with me and I’m fortunate to be surrounded by these strong hockey people, and keeping everyone on the same page as we move forward as a franchise.”

It’s probably not a good sign when the general manager of an NHL team feels that he has to start a response with: “I’m confident in my abilities.” Then again, it’s not a great situation for the Avalanche GM when an opposing general manager says, “I’m surprised we got such a good deal from Colorado.” Ouch. No wonder the man is more defensive than Dave Bolland against a Sedin.

Unfortunately for Sherman, there is going to be high profile criticism when he makes high profile moves. It’s easy for fans and pundits to sit back and criticize the Stewart/Johnson trade or the move for Varlamov. Did it look bad for the Avalanche when Chris Stewart went on his scoring binge in St. Louis? Absolutely. Do first and second round draft picks sound like a king’s ransom for a goaltender that has only started 59 NHL games? Sure it does. Honestly, only time will tell if those deals work out in the Avs favor—but the early returns don’t look good.

No matter what happens, you have to give respect to the man who takes ownership for his decisions. He did everything short of saying “the buck stops here.” He made a good move to acquire Tomas Fleischmann (health not withstanding) and he went out and got the goaltender who he thought would be the best for the Avalanche’s future. After his comments, we know that he made the final evaluations and is confident in his hockey decisions.

If Varlamov develops into an elite goaltender, fans in Colorado will be confident in his hockey decisions as well.

  1. polegojim - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Great – that’s all manly and noble and all that stuff…

    Confidence may be the possession of its owner, but it’s not always truthful, self-speak.

    Ever since Pierre stepped down and appointed Giguere as GM, the Avs have been an inconsistent mess. Not much changed under Shermans first year. As a matter of fact, the Avs late fall collapse was totally embarrassing. Maybe that one’s not on Sherm. We’ll see.

    Mr. Sherman – Avs fans don’t care about your confidence, we care about your ability and results.
    It’s time to EARN the confidence of Colorado and to PROVE you know what you’re doing via Results, Wins, and Playoffs.

  2. ballistictrajectory - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Several years ago, Peter Chiarelli arrived in Boston and made, what appeared at the time to be, several ghastly trades, selling off the up and coming prospects in Providence for questionable talent at the NHL level. Brad Boyes, Kris Versteeg, and a few others that were destined to show up if not shine at the NHL level were sent packing for guys that are now playing in Europe or not at all. It was very discouraging at the time.

    Today, I can’t complain about any of it. The GM and President combined to put together a true team of hard working role players that pulled it all together at the right time and the fans in Boston are ecstatic over it. So, to the Colorado fans, take heart, the future may be rosier than it looks.

    • polegojim - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:52 PM

      I’m a glass-half-full guy, but after years of hearing that here in CO… there’s squat to support it

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