Thursday, May 21, 2009

Will Patrick Roy Coach the Avalanche?

Nearly two weeks ago Patrick Roy arrived in Denver for a visit. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often. Peter Forsberg is in Denver on a regular basis, but not St. Patrick. So what is going on? Surely it has something to do with Pierre Lacroix’s efforts to implement a new management structure within the Colorado Avalanche organization. But Roy has said he isn’t a paper pusher. He wants to coach. The Avs have a general manager opening, not a coaching vacancy. Or do they?

So far the general manager search has proceeded slowly, at least as far as we know. Many people seem to be troubled by the slow progress, apparently forgetting how upset they were last season when the Avs moved swiftly to let Joel Quenneville go and hire Tony Granato. Well, you can’t please all the people all the time.

Assuming Roy came to town to talk about a coaching job: I have to disagree with a good many people that the process is being run backwards. People think you should hire the GM and then the coach. I would be pleased to see Lacroix hiring the coach and the GM, in any order and forcing the two to work together under his direction. He should hire the two men he thinks are best for the job; tell them to work together with the common goal of bringing this team up to the level of competition we have come to expect.

Hiring Roy to coach the Colorado Avalanche is a gamble worth taking.

Patrick Roy is a fiery competitor, no one disputes that. Roy does not accept losing. Look, I don’t think Granato accepts losing either, but some men have another level to their being. In this town I think we saw that with Dan Reeves. I would argue that he willed that team beyond its level of skill and even his own level of coaching. Pure will. You could see Reeves on the sideline, concentrating, motivating his players to succeed.

Granato seems to lack the coaching intangibles that will get players to elevate their play. Every team needs that from the coach. I think Roy has it.

Roy has that determination. It’s a purpose, a will to win. It’s otherworldly. In fact it isn’t unlike the “Force” that Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi possessed. And, as it is in the Star Wars universe, some people have it, but most do not.

Besides “will”, we should expect another distinctive trait from Roy, eccentricity. Roy fits the stereotype of the idiosyncratic goalie to a tee. I have always suspected the Avs policy of not showing opponents goals on the jumbo-tron originated from Roy. Shortly after Roy was gone the puzzling practice was abandoned. This brings up another point I want to make in favor of Roy. Can you imagine Roy dictating to Pierre Lacroix? Telling Lacroix, “Hey, it is disrespectful to show a goal against me, over and over to the home crowd. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t do that.” I think Roy may have, and Lacroix capitulated.

Roy is not a guy that will be a puppet. But once in the management end of the business will it be different? I think Roy knows that it will be, it may result in much more push and pull between two powerful men. As a player, that sort of power may have already been established. Roy was an elite player and Lacroix knew it and respected it. Roy has been successful at the Major Junior level but he is hardly what you would call an elite coach.

Is it a risk? Sure it is. But you finished last in the Western Conference this season, what have you got to lose? Do it Lacroix, roll the dice and go for broke. Because I sure would like to see Roy get the chance to become an elite coach!

Posted by: From the Point

1 comment:

  1. Nice work. I enjoy your blog, and being in Chicago, we have a renewed interest in hockey this year. So we also thank you for making your former coach available. Hope you are well. Your cousin John.