Colorado Avalanche, How Long Is Roy’s Leash


The Colorado Avalanche have their core set of young players locked up and ready to go for years to come. But with struggles looming the last two seasons, how much of a leash will Patrick Roy get with this core?

There’s been a lot of controversy over head coach Patrick Roy’s performance the last two years, but for now it’s the fact (thus not worth debating the merit) that he will begin this coming season as the head coach. Yet with Joe Sakic acting like he believes in the players, that only leaves one other factor to winning games — the coach.

Living On Bought Time

This is by no means a post calling for Roy’s immediate firing, or even putting an ultimatum on performance to which he must meet. Instead, I’m more curious in exploring the implication of what a trust in the roster by Sakic means for Roy.

Obviously, Roy will have to really screw up for a number of reasons before he is ever dismissed by the Avalanche: he’s a Colorado legend, he turned the franchise around (if by only luck) to win the division his first year behind the bench, he and Sakic were teammates, the players still seem to be behind him, etc.

With all those things comes a window where even if Roy went out and made some absolute boneheaded coaching mistakes, he would get a pass. Those factors are all subjective, so it’s impossible to say how much those contribute to Roy’s continued or future employment, but just as I’m sure many of them played a role in his initial hiring, I’m just as sure they will play a role in his future position.

Sakic’s Position

More from Mile High Sticking

At the same time though Sakic has made it abundantly clear this offseason that he thinks this group of players should be winning. He’s made no big moves, even though he had some very hot commodities in Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie and he went through the process of buying out Brad Stuart’s one year.

Which makes me wonder, if Sakic is truly behind the core to the extent he seems to be, how much room does that give Roy if they continue to under perform?

Public relations wise Roy can be both a blessing and a curse to the franchise. Obviously if he does well it’s great marketing material and unites generations of fans, but if he struggles and at any point has to be fired, it would nearly sacrilegious to some of the Avs fanbase (looking at my editor).

At the same time, Roy has revolutionized the goalie pulling strategy, with many coaches emulating his aggressive decision making. Away from the ice his stated disbelief in advanced statistics has left many shaking their heads at an obvious asset that they think is being ignored. And if you read enough comments on other team’s blogs you begin to realize in some other fandoms it’s considered Roy is in his position only due to his past fame.

Next: Colorado Avalanche And Advanced Stats


All this boils down to a potential situation in which if the Colorado Avalanche don’t start playing better hockey-at some point- Patrick Roy will get canned.

Next: Sakic Unwavering in Support of Roy

Now I can already feel the comments stating that the Avalanche players have failed to bring their “A” game on numerous occasions, a belief I have willingly shared. However, the old saying goes that you can’t fire all your players, but you can fire the coach. Just look at the Penguins and how they felt after losing their coach mid-season last year (and the positive change it had).

For now it’s a wait and see game with Roy, but if Sakic’s hand is forced things could become very interesting for the Colorado Avalanche.