Colorado Avalanche: Debating Patrick Roy with Music


The Colorado Avalanche have become a team that inspire conflicting loyalties. Two fans battle out the Patrick Roy issue using lyrics from Slipknot vs. Swift.

The Colorado Avalanche are at a crossroads. Patrick Roy leaving has disappointed fans, but the addition of Jared Bednar behind the bench has excited fans.

Still, there are a section of fans who lived and died with Roy and aren’t quite ready to move on. If this team wasn’t good enough for Roy, then they must not be good enough for fans. There are others who separated Roy the player from Roy the coach, are mad that he quit two months before the season, and are excited at what Bednar brings to the table.

My esteemed editor, Nadia Archuleta, falls into the former category. This is a woman who just got a Patrick Roy tattoo. Never question her love for all things Roy.

I’m in the latter category. I love Roy the player, had my issues with Roy the coach, and already believe Bednar is the best coach in team history.

I told Nadia that I wanted to argue with her, because two people arguing in a manufactured way always draws ratings. But I wanted to argue using the lyrics of her favorite musical artist, Slipknot, and my favorite musical artist, Taylor Swift. Why use lyrics? Because nothing quite captures the emotion of a person like another person singing about it.

I’m going to let Nadia go first, just so she knows what it’s like to control the possession for a little bit. The lyrics should be a give away to let you know who wrote what, but I’ll also help everyone out along the way.

Apr 1, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy on his bench in the third period against the Washington Capitals at the Pepsi Center. The Capitals defeated the Avalanche 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy on his bench in the third period against the Washington Capitals at the Pepsi Center. The Capitals defeated the Avalanche 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Bury all your secrets in my skin…
My heart is just too dark to care.
I can’t destroy what isn’t there.

(From “Snuff” by Slipknot)

Nadia: I was caught by surprise that I was a Patrick Roy fan first, Colorado Avalanche fan second. Everyone knows me as the Avs fan, the woman with the Avs license plates surrounded by Avs plate rims. Someone who’s always in Avs gear and who can turn any conversation into one about the Avs. (Congratulations on your new baby! Here’s a Colorado Avalanche onesie.) Fore Pete’s sake, I dedicate a large portion of my free time to being the editor of a Colorado Avalanche fan site!

Yet on October 5, I was at the tattoo studio telling my artist to make sure the Avalanche logo was at least partially obscured on my new ink — I wanted a Patrick Roy tattoo in Avs colors, not an Avalanche tattoo that happened to be of Patrick Roy:

For me, my love of the Colorado Avalanche is firmly entwined with my admiration of Patrick Roy. I knew him as the G.O.A.T. of goalies before the franchise moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche. When we acquired him in trade, it was like the best Christmas morning you can imagine.

I can’t separate the two, and that’s what makes this upheaval so painful.

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You are the best thing, that’s ever been mine.”

(From “Mine” by Taylor Swift)

Jeremy: I love the Colorado Avalanche. They’re not perfect, but they’re my hockey team. They allow me to escape from the real world for three hours a few nights a week. They help with my depression when they’re good and they make my depression far worse when they’re bad. It’s actually an unhealthy relationship when I really think about it. Nonetheless, the Avs are my team.

That said, I don’t feel like they owe me anything. I understand that sports are a business. That’s why, as hard as it is, I get it when guys are traded or released. I can’t do anything about those trades or releases (except reacquire those players in video games). All I can do is root for the team that the organization puts on the ice, even if I’m not always happy with the team.

Patrick Roy leaving, and essentially saying, “this team isn’t good enough to be blessed with my coaching acumen” doesn’t change how I feel about the team or the organization. I loved Roy as a player. He wasn’t perfect, but he was my goalie. I even loved Roy as a coach. He wasn’t….,well, you get it. But I only loved Roy because he played for and coached the Avalanche. Roy is not the reason I became an Avalanche fan and he won’t be the reason I disown the team.

The Colorado Avalanche, as an organization, are mine.

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And my gods are untrue – I’m probably wrong, but I’m better than you.

(From “Sulfur” by Slipknot)

Nadia: A while ago I wrote a post about Patrick Roy and the cult of personality. No matter who you are, Roy doesn’t engender the reaction “Meh.” It’s even more than love him or hate him. He is a man who commands a reaction. A strong reaction. Even his resignation set the whole sports world aflutter.

I like to say that I have a quasi-religious devotion to Patrick Roy. It’s not that I think he’s going to take me to nirvana — I understand he’s a man. However, the type of man he is, first as a player then as a coach — I believe he takes his followers to hockey nirvana. Joe Sakic didn’t win the Stanley Cup without Patrick Roy. No one can question that Roy’s supreme confidence and insane goal tending played a part in both Cup wins. And he won two Cups without Sakic.

I firmly believe Sakic and his team of analytics nerds are not the way to the Stanley Cup now either. My gods may be untrue, but they’re better than fancy stats.

Editor’s Note: After Jared Bednar failed to name defenseman Erik Johnson an alternate captain, I’d like to dedicate Slipknot’s “Spit it Out” to him.

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Breakin’ down and coming undone
It’s a roller coaster kinda rush
And I never knew I could feel that much
And that’s the way I loved you

(From “The Way I Loved You” by Taylor Swift)

Jeremy: No one can every take away what Roy did as a player for the Avs. We all loved Roy the player. We loved his fierce competitiveness and his winning attitude. Even when it got the better of him, we still loved him. That’s how we all want to remember and love Roy, as the unflappable goalie who backstopped the team to two Stanley Cups.

Roy the goaltender wasn’t Roy the coach. He was a different person because he couldn’t control the situation. He couldn’t make the big save when the defense broke down or shutout the opponent when the team could only score a goal or two.

Roy was, to put it nicely, a rather mediocre coach. His fiery attitude when things went wrong came off as a child throwing a fit because he didn’t get his way. When the opposition grabbed the momentum, Roy simply didn’t have a tactical answer.

I’ll never forget what Roy did as a player. I proudly wear my Roy jersey around town because I still believe that he’s the greatest goalie of all-time. But if I had a suit with his name on the back, well, I’d probably leave that in my closet.

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You and I, wrong or right
Traded a life for the leverage
In between the lens, in light
You’re not what you seem.”

(From “Devil in I” by Slipknot)

Nadia: I think this is a lot of what went down between Roy and Sakic toward the end. As I pointed out in another post, Joe Sakic and the Avalanche broke faith with Patrick Roy. He was supposed to have final say in player personnel. Sakic took that away under the aegis of being his “boss” as GM.

Roy and Sakic played for eight years together and are said to be great friends. They worked together in the front offices for three years for the Colorado Avalanche. There’s no way Joe Sakic didn’t know Patrick Roy would not accept that loss of control.

Patrick Roy is renowned for having a huge ego. Yet in the end Sakic out-egoed Roy. He traded their long history for the leverage in the team — for what he thinks is the way to go. This is clear in the reasoning Patrick gave for resigning, as well as Joe’s own admission that Roy was just “aware” of the decision-making.

In other words, the seemingly mild-mannered Joe Sakic isn’t exactly what he seems.

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“’Cause we had a beautiful magic love there,
What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair

(From “Sad Beautiful Tragic” by Taylor Swift

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Jeremy: Perhaps surprisingly, I don’t disagree with Nadia on that. Roy and Sakic were both making player personnel decisions, which I think was a mistake from the start.

I’m a firm believer in thinking that a coach shouldn’t have any type of personnel control. His input is important, and I’m sure every GM gets input from their head coach, but a GM should lay the pieces on the table and the coach should figure out how to make the pieces work. A front office with too many cooks in the kitchen is bound to burn something. A coach who has his hands in too many pots is sure to get his hand stuck in one of them. Boom. Analogy hat trick.

I don’t know if Sakic out-ego’d Roy, though. I think Sakic did what he thought was best for the team and Roy, showing his ego, didn’t like it and quit. Sakic didn’t force Roy out. He just disagreed with the way Roy wanted to go, which was bound to happen at some point. There was no way that Roy and Sakic were going to agree on every single roster decision. For all we know, Sakic gave Roy too much power over the last three years, didn’t like the results, and wanted to do things his way.

Here’s what we know: Roy wanted the Avs to make a big splash in free agency. I’m still baffled as to what they could’ve done given the lack of high-end free agent talent and the mystery contract of Nathan MacKinnon. Maybe he wanted them to sign Alexander Radulov, but would that have been the best answer?

We seemingly know that he wanted them to trade Tyson Barrie and possibly Matt Duchene, but finding fair value for both guys would have been tough and I don’t think trading two proven commodities at just 25-years-old for the unknown would be the best move. Do we really want to go through the whole “win the trade” discussion that we’re still going through with the Ryan O’Reilly deal?

Sakic and Roy led the Avs to success on the ice because they both knew their role and played it well. Sakic scored goals. Roy prevented them. Off the ice, they were trying to fill the same role and it simply didn’t work.

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Even now, I realize the time I’ll never get.
Another story of the bitter pills of fate.
I can’t go back again. I can’t go back again…

(From “Dead Memories” by Slipknot)

Nadia: I lost interest a little with the Avs right around the time Roy retired, but more because life happens. I was living in Europe and doing something else. When I came back, it wasn’t until Patrick Roy became the head coach that I really got into the Avs again.

To me it’s always been a special grace that we got the G.O.A.T. of goalies from an original six team. It was even more magical that he eventually came back to Colorado as a coach. We were blessed, the chosen ones.

Now, he’ll only ever be associated with the Colorado Avalanche as part of the past. That grace is gone.

I get it, all the usual arguments fellow fans make. It’s life. Hockey is a business. These are not only grown adults but powerful ones making their own decisions.

However, I can’t go back again to my pure love of the Colorado Avalanche from before. As Slipknot would say, my heart is just too dark to care anymore.

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Time turns flames to embers —
You’ll have new Septembers

(From “Innocent” by Taylor Swift)

Jeremy: This lyric is personally dedicated to Nadia. I know your love of Patrick Roy will never fade — you’re crazy enough to get a Roy tattoo for Forsberg’s sake (that’s my hockey God). But the Avs aren’t going away.

You might not be in love with Jared Bednar now, but when he continues to win games, and he raises the Bednar Belt at the end of the season, you’ll smile. You’ll go crazy when Erik Johnson scores a game-winning goal in an important playoff game. You’ll laugh when Chris MacFarland is shown on television picking his nose.

Next: EJ Overlooked as Alternate Captain

I know it’s hard right now, but Patrick Roy was never going to be around forever. He would have been fired or retired or left on his terms, which is exactly what he did. But the Colorado Avalanche would still be intact. They moved on without him in goal, and they’ll move on without him behind the bench.

Diamonds are forever, and so are the Colorado Avalanche.