On Tuesday afternoon, I sent an email and a text to the agent of Matt Duchene. His name is Pat Brisson, and he works out of Beverly Hills, Calif.

“If there is no trade of (Duchene) by the start of camp, is it his intention to report to camp on time?” was the question I asked for BSN Denver.

At 1:12 a.m., probably an hour after I’d gone to sleep, an email came back.

“I don’t have much to say at this point,” was Brisson’s reply.

In the old days, when I was up three-quarters of the night and half out of my mind on a sleeping pill addiction, I’d have relayed this information sooner.

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But here’s what time it really is: It sure seems like there’s a chance Matt Duchene might not report to Avalanche training camp on Sept. 14th, the deadline for veterans to do so.

Now, before this all goes thermonuclear, let’s take a breath. We still haven’t heard from Duchene yet. He, as Brisson told TSN’s Frank Seravalli, is back home in Ontario still. Brisson, by the way, gave the same non-answer to Seravalli’s specific question I posed to him (great hockey minds thinking alike and all).

I followed up Brisson’s answer to me with another email, asking if he wanted to clarify what he told me, because obviously it could be interpreted different ways and, well, we want to get things right around here. No reply as of five hours since I sent it.

So, this is the situation: The Avs might well have an ugly holdout on their hands soon. I’m trying to think if any player in Avs history has ever withheld services while still having a contract, and I can’t think of any. Make no mistake, if this happens, it’s going to dominate every aspect of the Avs’ world and much of the hockey world at large. It would be an unrelenting distraction until resolved. Players and coaches and management, especially management, can try and dance around the subject all they want – “We’re just focused on who’s in this room, that’s it” – but it would be the 8000-pound white elephant in the room, at all times.

The Avs have no comment on any of this – yet.

Sure, there’s a chance Duchene might come out and say, “Hey, of course I’m going to report. I’m under contract and that’s that.”

But Pat Brisson is no dummy. He’s also the agent to players such as Sidney Crosby and John Tavares. He knows perfectly well what he put out there with his nonanswer to a very specific question. He represents Duchene, in all matters of business.

If Joe Sakic finds the right deal by the 14th, then this distraction all goes away.

If not, we could be in for a very ugly standoff.

The clock is ticking.



Adrian Dater

Adrian Dater is a staff writer with BSNDenver. He started his journalism career way, way back in 1988 as a proofreader with the Concord Monitor as a kid out of college (Keene State College), and has wended its way since with a 25-year stop at The Denver Post, 20 of which were spent as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche, from its inception in 1995. Adrian has also worked as a primary hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, The Hockey News, Versus.com and Bleacher Report. He is the author of seven sports books, including the best-selling “Blood Feud: Colorado Avalanche v. Detroit Red Wings, The Inside Story of Pro Sports’ Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era” and “100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die”, which was published in October, 2016.

  • Special Ed

    Ok. Gotta admit.. I didn’t see this one coming. At all.

    How could this possibly help Duchene? a VERY streaky scorer at the best of times…. who hasn’t shown he can still score in almost a year now…. who NOW might have an attitude problem and a guy who might not show up when under contract? I get the guy might want out… but dear lord.

    • kpoppy5

      Although Sakic never came out and said Duchene was on the trading block, he also never came out and said that he wasnt. When asked a few weeks ago Sakic said “we are listening to offers”, when it may have been better to say something to the effect that he would love to keep Duchene and prefer not to trade him, that it is a GM’s job to listen to any and all offers for ANY player, but it would be nice to have Duchene in an Avs jersey. The last year has been an embarrassment for the Avs and I couldnt imagine being a fan of that team at this time. Roy, Duchene, Zadorov, Butcher, 48 points, to name a few, Sakic’s playing legacy has got to be in jeopardy in Colorado. this doesnt look like it is going to get any better, unless Duchene is moved and fast. I dont agree with Duchene “holding out” but I am not sure a move is made unless that statement is made.

    • Corey Graber

      Agreed! I get the part about frustration but get over it. We all have had bosses or owners we don’t like but your making 6 mil a yr plus whatever else to play a game that you quit on last year. How did that attitude help you at Worlds?? Quit the poor me attitude, shut up, and play to win! But hey, if there’s no drama involved then the world wouldn’t want to watch it right!

  • jpwheels

    Other than Brisson basically offering no comment, there is no news here. All his response does is open up fan’s mind to the possibility of a holdout. You warn folks about going crazy with that thought. And then you go on to say how much of a circus a holdout would turn in to.
    It all seems like clickbait to me.

    • OCMS

      I don’t think it’s “no news” or click bait. Legitimate Q by Dater and not a response that resonates in a “player just focused on hockey.” The agent could have asked that Dater- off the record- give him time to reply, not replied at all, or give a standard hockey answer. None of that happened. I think Duchene has been treated unprofessionally in all of this and I don’t blame him too much for being sour. That being said, pay me $6M and I’ll tolerate a lot.

      • jpwheels

        I was a bit hesitant to post my comment because I can sometimes come across more harshly than intended. But I still maintain there is no news here. Brisson basically offered no comment. Sure, he could have said something along the lines you suggested, but he didn’t. So we’re left to speculate. And I think there’s been way to much of that going on throughout this whole ordeal — including by myself.

        I too think the Avs have treated Duchene terribly for well over a year now. He went from the face of the franchise to clearly expendable. And he hasn’t handled it well at all. That’s on him. As much as I’d like to see Dutchy the 30/yr goal scorer stay with the Avs, I have serious doubts he can ever be that player again for this team.

        • OCMS

          It’s your last sentence that sums it up. I do wish he had had a better showing at Worlds. If he had, I bet we’d be way past this saga and talking about how the different pieces of the “Duchene Trade” fit into the line up and/or in the pipeline. The guy really hurt his own stock and should have faked an injury if he wasn’t going to compete.

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