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Giguere Discusses Avs' Direction

by - Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche
On Monday afternoon, Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere spoke with the media via a conference call regarding the Avalanche’s approach to the start of the free agency period. Giguere touched on the signings of Adam Foote and John-Michael Liles earlier in the day and also discussed Colorado’s dealings with many of the club’s other unrestricted free agents.

Re-Signing Liles and Foote
“If you look at the free agent class this year, there’s no doubt in my mind that John-Michael Liles and Adam Foote were two of the top five defensemen entering free agency. Our feeling is that we just signed two free agents, we just signed them a day early.”

On the Status of Joe Sakic
“I met with Joe probably the week before he left for vacation, so that was probably about three weeks ago. He needs more time to get to the point where he can make a decision. Again, like I said earlier, I think it’s in our interest to give him time. He’s earned the time to make that decision and get to the place where he’s 100% comfortable with his decision either way.”

“We’re going to prepare ourselves to ice the best team possible with the hopes in the coming weeks or months that he will come back. But if he doesn’t we’ll be ready for that eventuality also.”

“I have an inkling that when Joe’s ready to give an answer he’ll know to reach me and he’ll do that as soon as his mind is made up. Now, does that mean we’ll not talk between now and then? Not necessarily, because that doesn’t mean I won’t pick his brain on different stuff or talk to him. As of today I have no plans to call him and ask if he’s ready with his decision.”

On Tuesday’s Opening of Free Agency
“I think part of what in some ways is fortunate to us is that in this free agent class, I don’t think there’s as many quality, top-end guys as in the past years. In the last 48 hours, some of those guys that are perceived to be quality guys, like the Malone’s and the Rolston’s, those guys will probably be signed before July 1. There are going to be very few guys in the market and there’s going to be a feeding frenzy for those few guys. My anticipation is that we won’t be really, really active like we were last year when we signed two of the top guys. We’ve done our homework, we’re ready to go and if there’s anything we can do to improve our team within a reasonable price, we’ll do it.”

Theodore to Test Free Agency
“As of 4:15 p.m. on June 30th, Jose will be testing free agency. There have been attempts to reach an agreement on a contract but we haven’t been able to come to terms. He’ll be testing free agency unless something happens in the next few hours, which I don’t anticipate to happen.”

Brunette Also Testing the Market
“As of today we don’t have an agreement. I would think the likelihood is that he’ll be playing with another team when the season opens next year.”

Sauer, Finger Both in Question
“I’ve talked to both. We’ve probably had a lot more talks with Jeff. There was a real attempt to get Jeff done; I would like to bring him back. I think he’s a guy that’s really progressed in the last couple of years and had a much bigger role. I think he’s in a situation where he feels that with the core defensemen we have, his role will be more limited.”

“With Sauer, I think it came to a situation where he probably feels he needs to start fresh somewhere else.”

Hiring an Assistant Coach
“Tony [Granato] and I have met with some candidates. Now, how quickly will that be resolved? I’ve kind of put that on the back-burner the past 10 days with the Draft and getting ready for this week. I would assume in the upcoming weeks that will become a priority again.”

Down the Middle
“One of the things I think we’re going to be entertaining if Joe doesn’t come back is to put [Wojtek] Wolski at center. I think when Wolski played center in Juniors he had a lot of success. We think he’s a guy that could play a big role down the middle, so that’s always an option.”

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