It's been almost one month since Patrick Roy stepped down from his posts as the coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Avalanche, and ahead of Thursday’s World Cup game in Quebec City, Roy spoke out for the first time since resigning and said leaving Colorado had to do with a difference in philosophies.
Roy, who was dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff ahead of Team North America’s game against Team Europe, said that walking away from the players he coached was difficult, but it had to be done because he wasn’t having fun coaching the Avalanche.
"Obviously, we had different philosophy and sometimes it's better that way,” Roy said, according to NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin. “The day I called [GM Joe Sakic], I mean we talked for about 10-15 minutes about everything, and I mentioned to him that I was [not] going to come back next year. And he offered me to think about it, but I said my decision was made. I had plenty of time to think about it.”
What came when Roy had made up his mind was a short statement almost completely out of the blue. Some had speculated that Roy may be skating on thin ice after consecutive playoff-less seasons with the Avalanche, but Sakic had given Roy a vote of confidence ahead of the off-season and it was believed he would be back for a fourth year as Colorado's coach. Instead, though, came the shocking resignation.
That Roy has pointed to the difference in philosophy as a reason for his departure makes sense given the content of his statement upon resigning. In his announcement, Roy said “the vision of the coach and VP-Hockey Operations needs to be perfectly aligned with that of the organization. He must also have a say in the decisions that impact the team's performance. These conditions are not currently met.”
Asked more specifically what he meant by that, though, it sounds as if Roy wasn’t too keen on some of the talent and personnel brought in to help the club.
"It was more like the type of players and stuff like this that [we] didn't necessarily agree on, and it goes upon that,” Roy said, according to Benjamin. “It was people working for the team and stuff like this that we were a little different, but no more than that.”
One such area of concern may have been analytics, especially considering the Avalanche’s underlying numbers struggled mightily under Roy. During his best season behind the bench, the 2013-14 campaign in which the Avalanche finished atop the Western Conference, Roy’s club posted a 5-on-5 Corsi for percentage of 47 percent, according to Stats.HockeyAnalysis. Few pundits who take into account underlying numbers expected the Avalanche to go deep in the playoffs, let alone make it through the first round of the post-season. Colorado was ousted in seven games by the Minnesota Wild in the first round.
The following two campaigns were no better. The Avalanche, as aforementioned, missed the post-season in 2014-15 and 2015-16 while maintaining poor underlying numbers. Colorado finished 29th in 5-on-5 Corsi for at 43.2 percent in 2014-15 and followed that up with a league-worst 44.2 percent this past season. However, Roy didn’t entirely discount advanced statistics, saying there were some he believed in and others he didn’t, according to Benjamin.
Now unemployed, Roy said his hope is to take time away from the game. He still has one season remaining on his contract, but after that, he could be free to get back into the coaching game without needing the nod of approval from the Avalanche.
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