Ten years to the date since he announced his retirement, Patrick Roy was back in the same restaurant at the Pepsi Center in Denver to be introduced as the newest head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Spirits were high, and Avalanche fans are no doubt hopeful that things are well on their way to turning around with the Hall of Fame netminder at the helm.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere were in attendance for the press conference, and it is a positive sign to see the team already unifying behind their new leader. No matter what happens in the next few months, Giguere now gets to work with the goaltender he grew up watching. There is a chance the Avalanche will look to upgrade in that department, which could send Giguere or Semyon Varlamov packing.
Roy brought a never-ending competitive spirit as a player and if he can bring that same fire as a coach things will be very interesting for the Avalanche next season. There is a great young core of talented forwards, a top draft pick on the way and no doubt that the goaltending situation will improve with one of the winningest netminders in league history behind the bench. Roy’s additional responsibilities as vice president of hockey operations will give him a chance to make some important decisions, and shape the team the way he wants it. The stakes are high and he has a lot to prove, but Roy and Joe Sakic appear ready to lead the Avalanche back in a positive direction. Roy has won at least 40 games in each of the last five seasons while leading the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, and will now be the next player to try and dispel the notion that great players don’t make great coaches.