What is there left to do for Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy? What will be the expectations for the four-time Stanley Cup champion this season? What more can he get out of his team?
In his first year as the Avalanche’s bench boss, Roy certainly made a first impression on the league. Just ask Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, as seen here:
Patrick Roy comes into his second year with sort of target on his back. Last season, he helped structure an under-achieving Avalanche team to 112 points and champions of the Central Division of the Western Conference. After five seasons of missing the postseason , he delivered the team a first round date with the Minnesota Wild. Unfortunately, progression would be stopped in seven games and an early exit from the playoffs.
Despite the missed opportunity, Roy was rewarded the Jack Adams trophy, as the NHL’s Best Head Coach last season.
Unfortunately, Roy may have set the bar too high for fans. Even he admits it’s going to be tough the second time around.
“We’re playing in a tough conference and it’s pretty easy to be humble in that conference…With the quality of the teams, you know that to make the playoffs, you have to be outstanding all year… Last year, we were lucky and didn’t have many injuries. This is a big factor. We could have as good or better a year than last year and not have 112 points. We want to make sure we continue to get better. Our young guys need to continue to grow. This is how we’re going to measure ourselves, not with the number of points.”-Patrick Roy, CBC.com, September, 2014
And the challenge of repeating that success starts with player personnel. A big part to the team’s success last year was loss in the form of Paul Stastny to free agency. His 60-point campaign for the Avalanche will be missed by the team. However, Roy has been a gamer throughout his playing career and will be able to maneuver players around to help fill the void. The organization was able to sign Jerome Iginla and trade for Daniel Briere. The hope is that the veteran presence will help guide the youth and provide a good blend of veteran leadership and youthful enthusiasm.
For Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche, their task of repeating their success from last season will be tough to repeat. No longer will other teams be surprised when playing them in the Pepsi Center. However, if they have learned anything, it’s not to be taken for granted.