Late coaching search puts Avs in an uncomfortable position

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As if the disappointment of last season wasn’t enough, the Colorado Avalanche now have to deal with an unexpected coaching search.

Not many teams have to look for a new head coach this late into the off-season, but Patrick Roy’s sudden departure put the Avs in a bit of a bind.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any proven head coaches available, but all it means is that Colorado’s coaching search may be limited.

Had they known about Roy’s intentions to leave earlier in the summer, they could have inquired about a number of different candidates that have been scooped up by other teams.

A good example would be Habs associate coach Kirk Muller, who was available after leaving St. Louis. So was Blues coach-in-waiting Mike Yeo, Minnesota’s Bruce Boudreau, Ottawa coaches Guy Boucher and Marc Crawford, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle and a few others.

The other problem with hiring a head coach this late, is that the teams who currently employ some interesting candidates may be reluctant to let them walk in late-August.

“It’s at the discretion of the parent team,” one coach told ESPN.com. “It’s a pretty unique scenario. It’s the middle of August, all of a sudden Colorado has to find a guy. It’s a tough spot for Colorado.”

With all the parity in the NHL, why would a team allow one of their assistant coaches or their AHL coach to walk away this late into the summer?

Some teams may have a soft spot for their coach and may be willing to let them interview for a better gig in Colorado. But counting on the kindness of other NHL GMs doesn’t sound like a good plan.

Still, there may be more options than we think:

Regardless of who’s available, Joe Sakic will have to figure this thing out in a hurry.