Scoring 30 goals in a single season is no easy feat, especially in an era when defensemen are tougher to get by, goaltenders are bigger and faster and scoring is down. Given all of that, it would make sense why Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene would celebrate his 30th goal of the campaign, but that doesn’t mean coach Patrick Roy has to be happy about Duchene’s reaction.
Duchene, 25, notched his 30th tally of 2015-16 late in the third period of Colorado’s 5-1 loss to St. Louis Sunday evening, with the marker coming on a deft deflection in front of the Blues net. Following the goal, Duchene pumped his fists upwards and seemed pretty excited to hit the milestone, with Mikkel Boedker even collecting the puck to hand to Duchene:
Well, Duchene’s excitement about the tally lasted all of 4:14 of game time and then was dampened post-game, stomped out in part by a losing effort by the Avalanche, and in part by Roy, who said he had a “hard time” with Duchene’s post-goal celebration.
“The thing I have a bit of a hard time with is the reaction of (Duchene) after he scores. It’s a 4-0 goal. Big cheer,” Roy said post-game. “Are you kidding me? What is that? It's not the (reaction) that we want from our guys. Not at all.”
Roy’s displeasure went beyond just Duchene, though, as he said the entire core of the Avalanche hasn’t proven they have enough leadership to take Colorado “to another level.”
“Eventually, we have to admit, isn’t it? We need more from these guys,” Roy said. “I love these guys. I think (captain Gabriel Landeskog) is pretty much alone in that. I think (Erik Johnson) is trying. But we need more from these guys. These guys need to prove to us that they're capable of carrying this team.”
Even if Duchene’s on-ice celebration was too boisterous for Roy’s liking, and even if Duchene is part of that core that Roy wants to see more from, the Avalanche pivot said the milestone meant nothing to him if Colorado wasn’t going to make it into the post-season, which is the response Roy was likely hoping to see from Duchene.
“I won’t enjoy it tonight,” Duchene said post-game. “Maybe it’s something I’ll look back on after the season and enjoy on a personal level. You play and try to score goals to make the playoffs. If you’re not in the playoffs, it doesn’t mean as much as you want it to mean. No one remembers that, and no one cares. Everyone just cares about who’s in the playoffs. That’s all we care about, and all I care about.”
The Avalanche sit five points back of the Minnesota Wild with three games remaining. Colorado needs to win their last three games to have a chance at making the post-season, and those wins would have to be combined with two losses by Minnesota.