Gospel According to Patrick Roy: Size Does Matter


“I want to be bigger, and I want to be faster.” ~Patrick Roy

Colorado Avalanche head coach (and director of hockey operations)

Patrick Roy

knows what he is doing. He and GM

Joe Sakic

believe in their system and are going to continue implementing it.

That said, one of the aspects of the team that they inherited last season that coach Roy has expressed dissatisfaction with is the team’s depth. He has been open about not agreeing with former hockey scout Rick Pracey’s choices in the past, stating it’s the reason Pracey is no longer with the organization. Coach Roy has also stated the lack of depth is a large part of the reason the Avs did so poorly in this injury-plagued season:

"“When you’re losing eight or nine guys, how many teams can make the playoffs with that many players missing?”"

Of course, the key injuries still plaguing the Avs are cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson and wonder kid Nathan MacKinnon. Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov also missed several stretches of games over the season. His depth players, Jesse Winchester and Jamie McGinn have also missed the majority of the season.

In fact, coach Roy worries how McGinn and Winchester are going to fare even when they do return next season.

That said, coach Roy knows what he wants to acquire over the summer — size.

During an interview with The Fan Morning Show, Patrick Roy talked about whether he thought injuries were related to luck or were preventable. He stated they were mostly bad luck. However, he acknowledged that a lot of it came down to they type of team you are:

"“A lot of it goes with the type of players you have. If you’re a big team size-wise, I guess you’re less subject to injuries than if you’re a small team.”"

He pointed out that playing night after night against big teams wears on a smaller team. He singled out the Anaheim Ducks in particular to praise for size and speed. Well, that was the organization’s intent last year after getting eliminated in the second round by the LA Kings — to increase their size and buffer their speed.

It worked out well for the Ducks, as they’ve already clinched the Pacific Division and are on their way to possibly winning the Western Conference.

Patrick Roy said it outright: “We need to have size.” He pointed out that the team already has Matt Duchene (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) and Ryan O’Reilly (6-foot, 210 pounds) in the middle. They then went and drafted Joey Hishon (5-foot-10, 170 pounds). He thought that should have been a different call:

"“I love Joey, he’s a great kid. But maybe we should have been looking for a 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 centerman.”"

Patrick Roy added that he wants the team to be bigger and faster because that’s the reality of what wins games in the Western Conference. He mentioned the Ducks again, the San Jose Sharks’ size and the LA Kings’ physicality.

Some fans are questioning if that’s really the way to go for the team. However, it’s how they’re built at the core, and it’s what made them so successful in the early years. They’re already a somewhat big team at the core (Erik Johnson, Nick Holden — and Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla aren’t exactly shrinking violets at a matching 6-foot-1, 210 pounds). They’re already speedy (Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie, Johnson again.) They’re already physical (Johnson, Landeskog and Iginla again, Cody McLeod, John Mitchell, Brad Stuart).

And it’s not like Roy and Sakic weren’t already placing emphasis on those aspects of physicality. Both rookies Dennis Everberg and Borna Rendulic are speedy and talented, but they’re also big — 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and 6-foot-2, 200 pounds respectively. Summertime acquisition Jesse Winchester is also a respectable 6-foot-1, 205 pounds. And we already know the size and physicality of Iginla and Stuart.

The Colorado Avalanche are in no danger of becoming the next Broad Street Bullies or the lugubrious Boston Bruins. They have no intention of being like the whiny little Wild, though, complaining that the big, bad NHL players are being mean to them.

The Avs intend to strike hard, strike fast and strike with skill — and have enough size and strength to keep them in the game.

Next: Gospel According to Roy: O'Reilly, Landy, Last Games

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