DENVER – Patrick Roy was fuming after the final horn, jawing at the Anaheim Ducks and then pushing over a glass partition separating the benches.
And all that was after a win.
Feisty as a Hall of Fame goalie, Roy appears just as animated as an NHL coach.
Roy certainly made his coaching debut with the Colorado Avalanche memorable as he led his team to a 6-1 win over the Ducks on Wednesday night and then lost his temper over a no-call on a trip of one of his players.
He barked at opposing players and then at Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who hollered right back. Roy then slammed his hands against the glass, tilting it over. Roy hit it again—a little harder—and it fell even more toward Boudreau.
“I didn’t expect that,” Boudreau said. “It’s not our job to go back and forth with their players. All of a sudden, I told him, ‘That’s bull, that’s bush league,’ and he did what he did.
“(He’s) going to be in for a long year, if he’s going to yell at every player and yell at the refs at every stoppage of play. It’s not the way the game is played.”
Instead of being elated about his first win as a coach, Roy was agitated over an apparent tripping infraction against top draft pick Nathan MacKinnon that wasn’t called.
“That should have been a penalty, in my opinion,” said Roy, who received a game misconduct penalty. “I don’t think this league needs that type of cheap shot.”
So just before the final horn, Roy sent Patrick Bordeleau and Cody McLeod onto the ice, fourth-line players who are also the team’s top enforcers. That is what upset the Ducks.
“At the end, obviously we’re frustrated,” Boudreau said. “But I mean (he’s) got Bordeleau and McLeod on the ice. Even if they start something, a coach has no right to start yapping at players.”
That overshadowed an otherwise fine season opener for the Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov was sharp in net as he made 35 saves, and Jamie McGinn scored two goals, both on passes from MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick in the draft in June.
“I’m just excited to be here and help set up scoring,” MacKinnon said.
Ryan O’Reilly, John Mitchell, Matt Duchene and Steve Downie added goals for the Avalanche, who improved to 19-8-7 on opening night. Alex Tanguay, back with Colorado for the first time since the 2005-06 season, also had three assists.
Varlamov stuffed the Ducks all evening but lost his bid for a shutout in the closing seconds when Jakob Silfverberg slipped a shot by him.
Soon after, things got heated as Roy lost his temper.
“He’s not 25 anymore,” Boudreau said.
Viktor Fasth struggled for Anaheim, allowing three goals in the second period.
At barely 18 years old, MacKinnon is the youngest player in franchise history to make his NHL debut. He had quite an eventful game, getting into a skirmish before his assists.
His first career point came in the second period when he sent a pass through the legs of an Anaheim defender. His other was in the third when he found a wide-open McGinn skating toward the net.
In large part, this night belonged to Roy, who drew a loud roar when he was introduced before the game. He and fellow Hall of Famer Joe Sakic, who is in charge of the Avalanche’s day-to-day hockey operations, are teaming up to restore the lustre to an organization that has missed the playoffs the last three seasons.
It was fitting that Varlamov should play so well under the watch of Roy, one of the NHL’s best goalies.
“I am playing for a goalie that accomplished a lot,” Varlamov said. “I think Patrick tells me a couple of good things, things I can use in a game. That is special.”
O’Reilly got the Avs off to a good start by scoring the first goal in the Roy era late in the opening period when he stole the puck from defenceman Francois Beauchemin and beat Fasth with a wrist shot. O’Reilly, who is making the move to left wing, also had an assist.
It was a memorable return to the ice for Downie as he scored his first goal since Feb. 25, 2012. He missed the majority of last season with a torn knee ligament.
Teemu Selanne didn’t have many scoring chances for the Ducks as the 43-year-old forward began his final NHL season. Selanne has spent 15 seasons with Anaheim and is the franchise’s career leader in goals, assists and games.
NOTES: Anaheim sent F Devante Smith-Pelly to Norfolk of the American Hockey League before the game. … Avs D Ryan Wilson (knee) began the season on injured reserve. … MacKinnon is living in the basement of goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere this season.