The rookie coached Colorado Avalanche are 10-1-0 to start the 2013-14 NHL season with Patrick Roy calling the shots from behind the bench. It is surprising, but let’s give credit where it’s due. Roy is a 4-time Cup winner who clearly knows what he’s doing. It’s hard to doubt someone who has succeeded in all previous endeavours.
This isn’t the first time Roy has enjoyed success as a head coach. As a rookie coach with the Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL he won the Memorial Cup. Roy became the 7th coach in the Q’s history to achieve such early triumph, following in the footsteps of Stanley Cup winning bench boss Claude Julien who accomplished the feat in 1997.
Roy is also no stranger to the spotlight of the National Hockey League. His career accomplishments as a player are widely publicized. Roy is ready for the big time.
The Avs have allowed a league low 16 goals against through 11 games played. Is it any surprise that arguably the best goaltender in NHL history can coach smart defence? I know it’s early, but Roy deserves credit for his team’s propensity to prevent goals against. If for no other reason than last season they finished the year 27th in team GA.
The Avalanche goaltenders have played awe inspiring out of the gate. J. S. Giguere’s 0.981 save percentage is nearly unbelievable. Meanwhile, starting goalie Semyon Varlamov is enjoying the best run of his career, posting a 0.941 SV% after 8 games performed. If Roy is an early season favourite to win the Adams, then Jiggy and Varly are early season favourites for the William M. Jennings trophy.
Roy’s roster has a lot to prove still. They lack clout because this group failed to make the playoffs last season. Naturally, without substantial evidence suggesting they can last the trials and tribulations of a gruelling season in a competitive league, doubters will wonder if Roy’s early success is sustainable. However, the same argument can be flipped and turned in Roy’s favour. Until he is proven to be incapable, it’s hard to argue the Avalanche can’t continue winning on most nights.
The month of November will be challenging. The surprise factor the Avs benefited from in October will diminish to some degree. Opponents will start taking Colorado more seriously, while NHL coaching staffs begin to better breakdown what has allowed them to win 10 of their first 11 games and only give up 15 goals in the process.
In November the Avs will play 14 contests, 8 of which will be against division rivals with something to prove. They will play the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in what will be touted as a measuring stick game for the Avalanche. Also, their place in the division will be put to the test in two games against the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild, respectively.
Roy is off to a great start in his coaching career. And just to throw it out there he is used to early success. He won the Stanley Cup as a rookie player with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. Won it again in his first season with the Colorado Avalanche back in 1996. Roy continued a history of winning in year one as a junior coach. Maybe Roy’s got another first time Cup victory in him this year.