Colorado Avalanche: Patrick Roy’s Fresh Age


The Colorado Avalanche haven’t declared their new hashtag for this season as far as I know, but I’m guessing #Avs20 or some version of it is going to win out. (I’ve been agitating for #RedemptionSeason, but it hasn’t taken off yet.)

Truthfully, after listening to the interviews from today’s media conference, I think the Avalanche will show us #AFreshAge.

The Gospel According to Patrick Roy

Naturally, head coach Patrick Roy had the most to say. He can undoubtedly give the most technical explanations and go into the greatest detail about plays, but he’s a better speaker than that. Instead, he reiterated that the mindset of training camp is going to be different this year.

Indeed, at the conclusion of last season coach Roy remarked that he didn’t want to put on scrimmages “just for the scouts.” He wants to focus on the team plays. That hasn’t changed:

"“We’re going to try to look at the system and try to play less scrimmages.”"

Of course, one aspect that the team is certain to focus on during training camp proper is defensive play. Last year they started with man-on-man defense and switched a little way in to zone defense.

There’s no reason to think they’re going to switch back from zone defense. However, the Colorado Avalanche also have quite an infusion of new defensive talent in Nikita Zadorov, Francois Beauchemin and Brandon Gormley, not to mention prospects such as Chris Bigras, Mason Geertsen and Duncan Siemens.

Indeed, Roy mentioned Zadorov and Gormley specifically as “young guys” who are going to be key to the team both now and in the future.

(Start speculating, Avs Nation. Whose position is Gormley going to take?)

It should come as no surprise that coach Roy has high expectations for third-year “veteran” Nathan MacKinnon — the name Patrick Roy is practically synonymous with “high expectations.” Likewise, he looks for a healthy Erik Johnson to have an excellent year.

By the way, the goalie battle between Reto Berra and Calvin Pickard is on.

The Word of Roy

In the first season, it was all about remaining “even keel.” Players were only allowed to maintain their high or low until midnight, and then they had to put it behind them the next day.

Last season, coach Roy preached “patience” with his “young team.”

I don’t think those are going to be the focus this season. I’m not saying those are going by the wayside. Rather, like any master teacher, Patrick Roy is building on previous lessons.

During the press conference coach Roy mentioned the partnership between himself and the players:

"“I’ve mentioned many times in the past that the partnership has always been very important to me, and it’s certainly not going to be any different.”"

It’s well known that Patrick Roy is a player’s coach, and that’s clearly going to stay the case. Indeed, coach Roy put his teaching hat on when he talked about making sure the players learn the system:

"“Sometimes it’s unclear for the players, and you always try to make it easier for them.”"

Patrick Roy was talking about the changes the team is making, which he stated aren’t going to be significant. In fact, I think the major changes are going to be in the mindset of the team and probably the coaching staff.

Coach Roy talked about “the language you want to use” when instructing the players. This jumped out at me because captain Gabriel Landeskog has been talking a lot about language recently. Now, he was talking about the Friends Colorado initiative, but I find it interesting how vocabulary circulates through a team.

What really jumped out at me was a quote that came after:

"“We’re here to serve them. We’re here to help them perform at their best.”"

The coaching staff and the team as a whole are there for the players. Somehow, I don’t think it’s as kumbaya as it sounds. Quite the contrary — Roy’s not talking “patience” and “even keel.” He’s talking high expectations. He’s talking language. He’s talking players being compelled to perform at their best.

I suspect fire and brimstone Patrick Roy may well be back. It’s a Fresh Age, Avs Nation.

Next: Is This Matt Duchene's Year

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