There is always a surprise team in the first month of every NHL campaign. Last season we had the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens who jumped the gun with productive first months. Being a short season, that was enough to secure both clubs a playoff birth. This season, the big shocker is the early success of the Colorado Avalanche.
Patrick Roy is an Avs legend. He backstopped the franchise to Stanley Cup titles in 96′ and 01′. But being a great goaltender doesn’t necessarily translate to great NHL head coach. In fact, most of the league’s top bench bosses who played pro before coaching were either defencemen or depth forwards. You want goaltenders? You’ll find them commenting on your television screen. But Roy is different.
It’s also rare for a Hall of Fame player to become a successful head coach in the NHL. That being said, that trend appears to be changing. Patrick Roy is off to an incredible start as a pro coach. Similarly, Adam Oates in the East has reigned over an inconsistent Washington Capitals club, however, the season is young and his coaching methods appear to have revitalized sniper Alex Ovechkin who is off to the best start of his career.
When Roy was hired as Avalanche head coach and vice president of hockey operations a lot of people thought they’d all lost their minds in Colorado. Roy’s career as a coach in the QMJHL was known for wild outbursts as much as it was success.
In his first game behind the Avalanche bench, Roy lost his cool against the Anaheim Ducks entire team after rookie Nathan MacKinnon was targeted by Ducks defenceman Ben Lovejoy. Pat Roy’s outburst against the Ducks. The immediate impression was – Roy is a loose cannon. But that was it. Since then, Roy’s squad has performed exceptionally and he has behaved.
The Avs incredible start to the season coupled with their real estate atop the league’s most wide open division ensures that their 18 earned points in the bank provide them a massive cushion in the playoff race.
Pat Roy is 9-1 as an NHL head coach. They are turning heads in Colorado.