Colorado Avalanche: Roy Coached Better than Bednar

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28: Head coach Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche leads his team during timeout against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on February 28, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28: Head coach Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche leads his team during timeout against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on February 28, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
patrick roy
DENVER, CO – APRIL 09: Head coach Patrick Roy (R) of the Colorado Avalanche argues a call during play against the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center on April 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Patrick Roy, the Coach

Patrick Roy was a player’s coach. That’s not the way all former players go, but it’s the way this former goalie chose.

Now, saying he was a player’s coach didn’t mean he was going to sit around and talk about baseball or fishing, the way Nikita Zadorov says Jared Bednar does. To be honest, Roy is famous for being single-minded about hockey — if he were talking about fishing or baseball, he’d probably relate it back to hockey.

Rather, coach Roy always had his players’ backs. In fact, one of the first things Patrick Roy did was coach defenseman Erik Johnson away from the albatross that had been hanging around his neck his entire career — supposedly being a first-overall bust. According to a Denver Post article, Roy said the following:

"“I had a great conversation with Erik. Honestly, I’m confident he’s going to have a really good year. The thing is, we’re going to work really hard with him to ‘don’t live in the past.’ It’s now,. Don’t worry about the ‘first overall’ thing. Don’t worry where people say ‘first overall pick’ – it’s over. We want you to be who you are. Erik needs to be Erik Johnson. Go hard, go out there and play his game and be himself. That’s what I want to see from him. We’re going to try and bring a lot of confidence to his game.”"

That kind of coaching really helped Johnson come into his own as a player. He matched his best season under coach Roy and even got invited to play for the All Star team. That explains why Johnson declared that he always respected and “loved” playing for coach Roy.

Roy did something similar for Matt Duchene. Duchene started the 2015-16 season in a horrible slump. And while Roy alluded to the slump publicly, he privately took Duchene aside to coach him out of it. Duchene was grateful for the extra attention:

"“[Roy] pulled me aside and we watched video; he’s very perceptive in terms of the visual sense, and he helped me return to that foundation to what makes me go and what makes me, me.”"

Duchene went on to have an historic November. In 14 games Duchene scored 11 goals and earned 20 points. He was the first Avalanche player to score 11 or more goals in a calendar month since Milan Hejduk did it in February of 2003, so first in 12 years. He also broke Claude Lemieux’s record for scoring goals in November — Lemieux scored 10.

Both Johnson and Duchene attribute their success to coaching, specifically Roy’s coaching.

Patrick Roy also had a strong rapport with his captain, Gabriel Landeskog. Though he wasn’t the one who named the left wing captain, he embraced the youngster’s status. According to both the two were in constant contact about what the players needed from Roy. And Patrick was always very supportive of Landeskog’s leadership:

Related Story: Coach Roy Praises Captain Landeskog

Landeskog returned the respect. During an interview with, the captain talked about what it meant for Roy to be a player’s coach:

"“Usually players are used to coaches being a little distant and you almost have to tip-toe around them a little bit. With Patrick, it’s the other way around. He comes in and hangs out in the players’ lounge, chit-chats with us, shoots the [breeze], all that kind of stuff. “"

All of that was magnified by the fact that the man “shooting the breeze” was a Hall of Famer with four Stanley Cup rings, three Conn Smythe trophies and a legendary reputation in Colorado. Landeskog remarked that players felt comfortable around coach Roy and appreciated earning his respect because of the greatness of his career. He added:

"“You realize he’s a regular guy despite all the Conn Smythes and the Cup rings and all of that. A lot of guys were intimidated at first. I mean, who wouldn’t be when Patrick Roy is your coach? For him to come in and act like an equal with us, just come in and hang out with us, chit-chat with us, I think is something that has certainly brought us together as a team.”"

During the interview, Landeskog also talked about Patrick Roy’s coaching style:

"“I think it’s hard to pinpoint one thing, but there are a few things that he’s made so clear to all of us. He’s in this together with us. It’s a partnership. It’s not coach vs. players. We’re all in this together and he made that really clear from the beginning. I think other than that, he’s a very good teacher and knows how to get messages through to his players and knows how to interact with his players. He’s certainly earned the trust and respect that any coach needs for his players to work hard for him.”"

Landeskog elaborates in the video below:

I think there can be no question that coach Roy set the bar high. He certainly expected his players to perform their best. And he held them accountable to that performance. However, he did so in the locker room — rarely in the media.

Concerning player commentary on coaches, here’s what Nikita Zadorov said about Jared Bednar (translated from Russian):

"“Yes, these are two completely different people. I could not go up to Patrick, talk about some extraneous things, and in general, once again it is better not to ask him anything. There’s no such barrier with Jared. I’m not saying whether it’s good or bad, but it’s true. Our head coach loves baseball, constantly trying to bring analogies from this sport, and it’s impressive. It can be seen that people live in sports.”"

That’s pretty nice. It’s also obvious he was intimidated by coach Roy, who had sent him down to the minors more than once.

Here’s what Erik Johnson had to say about Bednar’s coaching:

"“If you look at the way our season’s gone, something has to change. Whether that’s players, or systems, or whatever.”"

I know you all don’t consider it damning evidence. However, Johnson is ever careful about what he says — and doesn’t say. The fact that he even hints that coaching might have been a problem with Bednar really is damning.

Next, let’s look at how Patrick Roy showed that he was a player’s coach — a fiery player’s coach. Of course, we all remember how he famously showed he’d go to bat — or blows — for his players:

That certainly was a show to make the players understand he had their backs. He was on their side. However, it was also a show. Patrick Roy understood the crowds had expectations of him, too. And he always put on a show of his fire and passion for the game.

Here’s another example of Roy seeming to lose it, toward the end of his tenure as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche:

At the time, many reporters thought he’d legitimately lost his mind. However, I could see the same showmanship in that angry exchange with the officials as I saw in his pushing down the partition.

Bednar, on the other hand, is “stoic” behind the bench. I personally think he looks confused and a little worried:

patrick roy
GLENDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 29: Head coach Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche looks on from the bench against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 29, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

But we can go with stoic.

Finally, Patrick Roy was a master at handling the media, too. Here’s an example (3:29 mark):

That was Patrick Roy standing up for one of his players against the media, in this case goalie Calvin Pickard. Watch how he forces the reporter to backpedal with a stare and a simple question, “Why?” Then he smiles and relaxes — and everyone in the room breathes a sigh of relief.

Here’s another example of how he could show charm with his steely demeanor (2:58 mark):

That was part of what made him such a great showman — the fire countered with gentility.

Conversely, this is how Jared Bednar handles his media:

First of all, props to Bednar that he wears his suit jacket while Roy strips down to his shirtsleeves. Of course, Bednar looks uncomfortable is said jacket — he fidgets and just generally looks unsure of himself. That’s a huge difference from the confident Patrick Roy, whose pressers above were also after losses.

Related Story: Alternate Patrick Roy Reality

Related Story: Final Word on Why Roy Left

Related Story: Roy Had No Beef With Duchene

I have one more post planned, but it’s of a more personal nature. Therefore, I’m going to share the dancing horses with your now:

I hope that was worth the wait.

Next: Patrick Roy was a Hockey Expert

In the end, Patrick Roy coached better than Jared Bednar. His record was better. He got more out of his players. Player testimonials are better. He was a better showman. Any counterargument is based on excuses — and there’s no room for excuses in the big time.

A final word: This is my last comparison of Patrick Roy and Jared Bednar. No future posts will be a criticism of Bednar because he isn’t coach Roy. They will be a criticism because he is coach Bednar — and I find coach Bednar seriously lacking on his own “merit.”