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Granato out as Avs change hockey staff

by Dan Rosen
It's restructuring day in Denver and that means Tony Granato, as well as five other members of the Colorado Avalanche hockey operations staff, have been relieved from their respective duties.

The Avalanche announced in a press release Wednesday morning that Granato, assistant coaches Jacques Cloutier and Dave Barr, goaltending coach Jeff Hackett, Assistant to the General Manager Michel Goulet and video coordinator P.J. DeLuca will not return in those roles.

In the same announcement, the Avalanche noted they will have news later in the day regarding their new management structure. For now, President Pierre Lacroix, Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig Billington, Assistant GM Greg Sherman and Director of Player Personnel Brad Smith remain in their current roles.

It's no surprise that Granato has been relieved of his coaching duties considering the Avalanche had offered his job to Patrick Roy, who exactly one week ago turned it down as well as the opportunity to be Colorado's new general manager.

The Avalanche have been without a GM since letting Francois Giguere go on April 13.

Granato was named coach last May, but Colorado was a disappointing 32-45-5 this season, good for 69 points and 15th in the Western Conference. The Avs couldn't overcome a series of injuries, most notably to Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny. With Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft in net, they were 26th in goals-against average (3.08), hence the reason Hackett is also being replaced.

Granato was first named Colorado's head coach on Dec. 18, 2002, replacing Bob Hartley after a disappointing start to the season 2001-02 season. He guided the Avs to the playoffs, but was replaced by Joel Quenneville after the season.

Granato stayed in the organization and eventually replaced Quenneville last May after the Avs got swept by Detroit in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Goulet has been with the organization for 13 seasons and Cloutier for 12. Hackett has spent the past three seasons as the team's goaltending coach and both Barr and DeLuca just completed their first season with the Avalanche.

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