Colorado Avalanche: Patrick Roy Exit Interview

Feb 7, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Colorado head coach Patrick Roy in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 7, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Colorado head coach Patrick Roy in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

Patrick Roy didn’t give an exit interview upon leaving the Colorado Avalanche organization. But what if he did?

Patrick Roy walks into the conference room a week after announcing his resignation from the Colorado Avalanche organization. He doesn’t owe anyone an exit interview, but he chooses to do one to clear up any confusion as to why he left and how he’s feeling. He’s not happy that fans and pundits have labeled him “a quitter.”

He’s never quit on anything or anyone in his life. He’s a winner. A fierce competitor with a desire to win that only a few can match. He didn’t quit on the Colorado Avalanche. He simply left on his terms. He felt that the ship was sinking and wanted to be the first one off. With no women and children on the ship, the four-time Stanley Cup winner took priority.

Roy steps up to the podium and adjusts the mic. He’s standing in front of the firing squad, but as the greatest goalie of all-time, this was nothing new to him.

“I’d like to thank everyone for being here today. First off, I want to express my gratitude to the Colorado Avalanche team and organization for giving me the opportunity to explain my actions. I realize that I caught the organization off guard last week, and I would like to apologize for my poor timing. However, I will not apologize for my resignation. I simply felt that it was time to move on. My voice was no longer being heard and the organization and myself were going in two different directions. Rather than swim upstream and fight with management, it seemed best to step down and move on.”

Cameras flashed, and reporters hands immediately shot up.

“Patrick, do you feel that you let the team down by resigning the way you did?” asked one reporter.

Roy gave a quick laugh and a smile before answering. “No. I gave the team everything I had for three years.”

“Patrick, what do you say to those people who think you quit on the team?”

“I would say to ask the players the same question.”

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The reporters seemed shocked. They weren’t ready for Roy to give such an answer, but Roy was tired of playing nice with the media and organization. As he said, he gave the team and the players everything he had for three years. All he asked of the players was that they do the same, but it was obvious to him at the end of last season that they weren’t reciprocating. He felt the players quit on him and couldn’t understand why they didn’t exude the same passion and fire that he had.

“Could you elaborate?” asked a reporter.

“I think it’s pretty clear. I was not happy with the way we ended last year and expected more out of the team. There’s a good group of guys in the locker room, but they expected too much and were too happy with mediocrity. I think it’s about learning with them. They’re a young group of guys who need to learn how to win and not be satisfied with losing.”

Roy was finally saying what everyone knew he felt. He wasn’t satisfied with the results and couldn’t understand why they weren’t angry at losing. Why was he the person throwing chairs and breaking doors and yelling and screaming? How come the leaders like Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene weren’t stepping up and rallying the team behind them? Roy can only do so much as the coach. It’s up to the players to perform and lead by example. He felt like the leaders, not him, let the team down.

“Is that what led to you criticizing Matt Duchene for his 30th goal celebration?”

“A lot led me to talk about Matt and that celebration. Yes, I was angry that he was over celebrating a goal in a 4-1 game that we were well on our way to losing. It was a personal achievement for him, but how did it help the team? The guys felt good for him and thought that was good enough. It wasn’t good enough.”

At this point, the reporters felt that nothing was off limits. They knew that this was their one chance to take aim at a candid Roy with nothing to lose.

“How is what Matt did any different that your statue of liberty play in the playoffs?”

Roy was anticipating this question and was thankful that a reporter put his balls on the table and asked it.

“That was a dumb mistake on my part. But we weren’t losing at that point. I was trying to add a little flare to the game and rally my teammates. I was trying to let them know, ‘nothing is getting past me tonight.’ Obviously, it backfired. And I own that. I cost my team that game and a chance at another Stanley Cup. I take ownership of that; I just wish players on this team would do the same.”

Save and a beauty. However, the reporters would not back down.

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“Did you recognize your shortcomings as a coach? How would you evaluate yourself?”

“I wasn’t the perfect head coach. There are no perfect head coaches unless I’m missing someone who has never lost a game. But I know that I gave my best effort every night. I can’t win games for the team, but I guess I lost plenty of them. I didn’t conform to advanced stats. Maybe that was my biggest problem,” Roy said with a joking laugh.

“What is your relationship like with Joe at the moment?”

“Joe is still a good friend and a golfing buddy. We were just going in different directions. It happens. Have you ever been in a relationship? Sometimes people just drift apart and want different things. That’s what happened with Joe and I. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends. It just means that we can’t be partners.”

Roy was firing on all cylinders at this point. He felt like he was back in Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. Nothing was getting by him.

“The players all mentioned that they loved playing for you. What do you make of their comments?”

“I’m glad to know that they loved playing for me. I loved coaching them. As I said, there are a lot of good guys in that locker room.”

“Do you regret the way your resigned? Leaving the team with no notice a month before training camp opens?”

“I probably could’ve handled it better, but I did what I felt that I needed to do. I wasn’t going to let anyone dictate the terms that I left on. I wasn’t going to leave it up to the players or management. I know the timing put the organization in a bad position, but things could’ve been a lot worse if I had waited any longer.”

“What do you think this means for your legacy?”

“I couldn’t hear the question. I have two Stanley Cup rings in my ears. I couldn’t lip read either because my other two Stanley Cup rings are blocking my eyes.”

The room laughed. Roy had them in the palm of his hand, but he was getting tired of the questions. He did his part and no longer felt obligated to the media or the Avalanche organization. He asked for one more question, and that was it.

“Are you a quitter?”

Next: Patrick Roy Used To Winning

Roy smiled, laughed, and thanked the reporters for their time before stepping away from the podium and away from the Avalanche backdrop.