Patrick Roy’s Criticism Of Duchene Might Be Last Straw

Feb 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy yells at his players during a timeout in the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy yells at his players during a timeout in the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy‘s criticism of Matt Duchene‘s celebration could create a schism in the locker room.

Patrick Roy called out star player Matt Duchene for celebrating a goal during a blowout loss Sunday night. With the team underperforming for the second straight year, the comment may create a schism in the locker room.

Ever since I started writing here I have been largely critical of Patrick Roy’s systems. The team still doesn’t play 2016 NHL hockey. Instead they often look like a kid playing a NHL video game: all offense with no D zone awareness. Recently, todayslapshot wrote a post about the Avs terrible systems (with mostly examples I have used previously, but we’ll call that flattery).

However, Patrick Roy has always had the support of his players, specifically his core players. In fact when Patrick Roy was brought in his first year players were eager to dump on Sacco, while praising Patrick Roy at the same time. I’m thinking specifically right now of Matt Duchene’s quotes, which have stuck with me through the years:

"The one thing with Patrick is, there’s no doghouse. If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do, he’s going to bring you in, he’s going to sit you down and you’re going to correct it constructively"

Huh, seems at odds with what Patrick Roy recently did. But Matt Duchene finished the quote by saying,

"…then you’re going to move on from there. You don’t stay in that doghouse."

I don’t care how close Matt Duchene and Patrick Roy are in the locker room. When a coach calls you out not in a calculated move for motivation, but because he is genuinely pissed, it sticks:

Patrick Roy may have already sat down with Duchene and apologized, as he should, but I guarantee you the relationship has taken a hit.

And recently we’ve seen Roy be more and more critical of his players. I guarantee Zach Redmond was not very happy when Roy’s reaction to his turnover showed up all over reddit. Not to include Roy calling out the lack of leadership ability among his core in the very same press conference as the Duchene comments.

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I’ve said for a while that Roy won’t go without Sakic, and I still think that’s true but I’m making a major distinction now: if Roy loses the locker room I think he’s gone. And I think Roy has done just that.

Patrick Roy has embarrassed Redmond, who may not be a core player (or even good), but I thought he worked his tail off against the Wild. And now he’s called out to the media Matt Duchene who has finally put together a solid and consistent year? I guarantee every player in the locker room has seen that and is afraid of why they may end up in the next article about Roy.

I don’t quite know the locker room dynamics of the Colorado Avalanche, but I would hope a leader like Gabriel Landeskog would not be happy about these actions from his coach, and god knows Jarome Iginla –one of the hardest and oldest competitors in the game — isn’t going to take crap from Roy in the media.

Besides just Patrick Roy’s words, though, I think he’s losing the locker room in a whole other way. The other thing Matt Duchene said when Roy was brought in reflected the systems of Roy versus Sacco:

"Our style of play, it wasn’t right for this team. We knew it would fail. That was the hard part. We knew (any) success was going to be short-lived. It was hard to really be excited about it. For myself, it was really hard to look at what we were doing and think it would keep on working. I can honestly say now, it’s not like that"

I can tell you I know that if the Avalanche are the worst in Corsi in the league again next year they’re not going to be a playoff team. I’ll bet my next 5 years of salary on it. And the players know it; they’ve seen all the graphs that show the Avalanche down by the Maple Leafs and Oilers and Sabres. And it hasn’t improved. Do you think the Avs players right now think that Patrick Roy’s systems will win games?

Next: Understanding Coach Roy's Criticisms

I think they all know the systems won’t, which is why I think the team has largely given up already. The Avalanche are somewhat a team that lacks effort, but more importantly they’re a team that lacks any belief that effort will bring them victory. Because they know their systems don’t work.

Whether you or I or Charles Barkley thinks Patrick Roy should go is immaterial. It’s Sakic and Kroenke’s decision to make. But if the players aren’t buying into the systems it doesn’t matter who’s coaching. And the saying has always went, you can’t fire your whole team, but you can fire the coach.