Colorado Avalanche Players Need to Step Up for Patrick Roy

Nov 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy calls out in the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy calls out in the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche need to listen to Patrick Roy to beat the Montreal Canadiens and solidify a playoff berth.

For Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, facing the Montreal Canadiens is no longer fraught with tension. After all, he’s already done it numerous times as both a player and a coach. Tonight should be just like any other night.

Except it really isn’t. Patrick Roy’s story will always revolve around two teams — the Colorado Avalanche and the Montreal Canadiens. He started his hockey career in Montreal, and ended it famously there. He found redemption with the Colorado Avalanche and retired in burgundy and blue. He interviewed — and got turned down — for the position of head coach in Montreal before Colorado convinced him to come here.

So, there will always be added filip when Patrick Roy faces the Montreal Canadiens. The Colorado Avalanche players need to step up for their coach.

And for themselves.

Colorado Avalanche Players Needing to Step Up


First and foremost, goalie Semyon Varlamov needs to start acting like a trained seal, only instead of fish, his reward is praise from one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game. And Patrick Roy has ever been a staunch supporter of Varlamov’s, so his fish pile is pretty big.

Now, Varlamov has performed acrobatics to keep the Colorado Avalanche in games they didn’t deserve to win. That doesn’t need to be something special — that needs to be the norm. There are a maximum of 30 starting goal tending jobs in the NHL, and legions of applicants. Varlamov is in a special place already.

There’s only one goalie job in the NHL backed by the world’s best goalie and his former goalie coach — the one in Colorado. If Patrick Roy wants you to do what he used to do — perform magic on a nightly basis — then that’s exactly what you need to do to keep that illustrious job.

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Core Players

Varlamov isn’t the only one in the spotlight, though. Head coach Patrick Roy has formally named five other players as the central, almost untouchable core of the Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie. Those five players have mostly been spared is criticism in the media and have instead enjoyed his support.

These boys need to make like the Avalanche greats of old. They need to score and hit their way to victory on a regular basis.

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Role Players

Certain ancillary players have also gotten votes of confidence from Patrick Roy. For example, though he’s been out for five games with a concussion, forward Jack Skille is supposed to return to the lineup against the Canadiens. He may not be back with his former Gladiator Line, depending on coach Roy’s decisions, but he needs to grind away at the opponents just the same. Skille is a player who amazingly earned a contract on a professional tryout.

Andrew Bodnarchuk and Chris Wagner are also in that boat. The Colorado Avalanche pulled them off the waiver wire. They occupy two of the 50-max contracts the team can have. If they make the lineup, they have to be the hardest working players out there.

Andreas Martinsen is in a similar situation. Roy puts him in the lineup to finish his checks and to make space for the scorers. Martinsen has to work both those roles to the limit.

Mikhail Grigorenko is a prime example of a player who’s had Roy’s trust. The two know each other from major juniors when Grigorenko was a scoring machine. Coach Roy has been giving Grigorenko playing time and even a spot on the top lines – he needs to give everything in the tank in return.


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There’s the obvious rationale for the players stepping up for Patrick Roy — he’s a Colorado Avalanche great. If anyone should forget that, he can just look up in the rafters at Roy’s retired number.

Before you drag out the Wayne Gretzky or Adam Oates example (great players don’t necessarily make great coaches), give a listen to coach Roy on 104.3 The Fan. Patrick Roy is always one of the most inspirational speakers, but you hear his true genius come out in these 30-minute interviews. At the end of most, I’m so pumped I want to play hockey for the man. The hosts have expressed similar desires.

So, you’ve got a team legend who publicly supports his players. (I assume fire and brimstone Roy comes out in the locker room, but that’s to be expected.) You’ve also got a highly motivational speaker — we’re talking cult level. How can any player tune him out — and if so, just who does he think he is.

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Never mind all that anyway. As of right now, the Colorado Avalanche are in a tight race for a playoff berth. They have a toehold on a wild card spot, but every team around them has games in hand. Playoff hopes depend on their going on a winning streak.

Is there really a man more motivated by winning than Patrick Roy? His drive to win is legendary. If you’re a Colorado Avalanche player — or even fan — who really wants the team to make the playoffs, then Patrick Roy is the man you want at the helm.

It starts tonight. The Colorado Avalanche need to step up and win the game against the Montreal Canadiens.