In the summer of 2012, as the Montreal Canadiens were making sweeping changes in terms of general manager and head coach after a disastrous 2011-12 season, many Canadiens fans were hoping that Patrick Roy, a man who helped lead the team to its last Stanley Cup glory, would be named the head coach. It turned out that Marc Bergevin decided to go with a coach who had some experience as an NHL coach in Michel Therrien. But Roy would not have to wait that much longer to get his chance at running an NHL team as a head coach.
On May 23, 2013, the Colorado Avalanche, after a disastrous season, cleaned house for the most part as they brought in Joe Sakic to serve as Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations; and whom did Sakic, a legend, hire as his coach? Another Avalanche legend in Roy.
While the 2013-14 season was expected to be a rebuilding one for the Avalanche, someone forgot to tell Roy as he has spearheaded a fast start which has seen the Avalanche win 11 of their first 12 games of the season, and will look to make it 12 of 13 as the Canadiens come to town on Saturday night in what will be Roy’s first game coaching against Montreal.
It is not hard to see why the Avalanche have had such a fast and very impressive start to the season. First and foremost, the team has taken on the personality of Roy, as his passion, intensity and attention to detail have been reflected in the play of the Avalanche so far through the first 12 games. Roy has also had a big influence on those playing the position that many consider him to be one of the five best to have ever played, and that is goaltending. Whether it Jean-Sebastian Giguere or Semyon Varlamov, the duo has helped the Avalanche to only give up 1.5 goals per game, the best in the league.
While Giguere and Varlamov have been the rock of the league’s best defense, the likes of Matt Duchene, Alex Tanguay, Paul Stastny and 2013 No. 1 overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon have helped the Avalanche to score an average of 3.2 goals per game, so far, which is sixth best in the league. Duchene in particular has been a player who has benefited from Roy coming in as what was thought to be a young player who might not live up to his potential, is now showing signs he might be the star many thought he would be as he leads the team with nine goals and is the points leader with 13, so far.
Many times, coaches and/or players try to play down games with some hype surrounding it by saying its just another game. On Saturday night, as part of CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada telecast, Patrick Roy has recognized it is not just another game as he will for the first time be coaching against a team whom he helped win two Stanley Cup titles. He will be doing so as the main reason why the Avalanche have surprised many with the best record in the league to date.