Sunday, May 11, 2008

Patrick Roy to Coach the Colorado Avalanche?

The speculation began even before Quenneville was let go. With Patrick Roy having begun a coaching career, everyone wondered if Roy would ever coach the Colorado Avalanche.

Now that Quenneville is gone, the speculation starts in earnest as the two most common names being bandied about are renowned 3-time Jack Adams award winning and Stanley Cup winning coach Pat Burns along with one of the most famous - or infamous - goaltenders of all time, Patrick Roy.

But not only did St. Patrick grow infamous as a goaltender with a penchant for the dramatic and the ability to get in players heads, he has grown infamous behind the bench of the Quebec Remparts.

In his first year coaching the Remparts, Roy led the team to a Memorial Cup championship. It was only the 7th time that a rookie coach has won the Memorial Cup. I was in Quebec the day the team paraded down the streets and you could feel a sense of aura around the team and Patrick. It's an aura that seems to follow him around like a shadow.

However that aura quickly turned dark the following year as Roy was involved in two incidents which reminded everyone of his quick and fiery temper. Following a game against rival Chicoutimi, a group of Chicoutimi fans swarmed the Remparts bus. Roy got out and in the scuffle was alleged to have struck Chicoutimi co-owner Pierre Cardinal.

Roy stayed on as coach, the media firestorm subsided and the Remparts marched on to the playoffs. Then during a 10-1 beat down at the hands of Chicoutimi, a brawl broke out which saw goaltender Jonathon Roy, Patrick's son, fly down the ice and attack Chicoutimi's goaltender, who was not even close to a willing participant. Shortly after the scuffle was broken up, Jonathon flipped off the Chicoutimi crowd.

Why does this reflect poorly on Patrick? Well, it would appear he urged his son on. Watch closely after the ref initially restrains Roy and you'll see Patrick make a gesture to the effect of "Get the F down there!" The result was a 5-game suspension for the elder Roy and 7 games for junior.

Francois Giguere has gone on the record stating the next coach for the Avalanche must be willing to play a high-tempo, puck possession game. It will also need to be someone who will hold players accountable for mistakes and not be so easy-going.*

He has said nothing to the effect of wanting a hot-tempered coach that will need to be handled with kid gloves lest he destroy another office.

*That last part was stated on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada last night and I couldn't find a clip to share.

Related Links
Roy knows the way to the top
Who's next for the Avalanche
Speculation on Avs successor already under way
Roy coaches Quebec Remparts to Memorial Cup
Arena fight puts police onto Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy and son suspended for on-ice brawl
Avalanche, Quenneville mutually part ways
Patrick Roy and son (with story on Hartley office trashing)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Should Q Stay or Should He Go?

Though the NHL playoffs continue, us Avalanche fans are relegated to starting our off-season banter on who should stay and who should go. Front and center in that discussion is our venerable coach Joel Quenneville.

Since as early as last season fans have been calling for Quenneville's head:
"He juggles lines too much!"
"He won't stick with a goaltender!"
"He sits on leads!"
"He wears bad ties!"

For months those cries were heard and unheeded. At one point, fans who felt Q should go were called chuckleheads who didn't understand hockey. But even as the Avalanche snuck into the playoffs amidst injuries, many peoples still felt Quenneville was the wrong coach for the team.

Then the Avalanche dispatched of the Minnesota Wild in a series where Quenneville appeared to outcoach an excellent coach in Jacques Lemaire. You started to wonder if maybe we'd been too hard on Quenneville. Then the Detroit Red Wings rolled in, swept the Avalanche out of the second round for the second time in Avs last two playoff appearances and we were back to square one. Granted that the Wings are playing amazing hockey and the Avalanche had a decimated lineup, but there didn't seem to be much of a gameplan in effect and the team was playing uninspired hockey.

Once the playoffs were over for the Avalanche, the question became primary on everybody's mind. Will Quenneville stay or will he go? Will he leave of his own accord or will Giguere tell him his services were no longer necessary? Will he stay but with a fashion consultant?

Joe over at MHH has been blogging faster than most people talk as more and more details on the Q's status trickle in. But today, the breaking point on the Quenneville saga may have been reached. In Rick Sadowski's blog at the Rocky Mountain News, Sadowski reports that Francois Giguere has headed out east to observe the World Championships.

You could say Giguere is going to enjoy some hockey but for the most part, when a GM heads halfway across the continent in the offseason, he's doing it as a business trip. And who's at the Worlds that Giguere could be interested in? Pat Burns of course. Back behind the bench, Burns is an assistant coach for Team Canada - 4-0 so far TYVM - and appears to still have the coaching fire in him.

Would a 3-time Jack Adams award winner - the only 3-time award winner in history - be the right fit for the Avalanche? Well, I certainly can't see him being any worse. Sure, you could claim his 88-89 win came on the back of Patrick Roy but my goodness, the man won the award while coaching the friggin' Leafs! You find me a coach who can win an award while coaching a team in Toronto and I'll show you a man who deserves a job.

But reegardless if Pat Burns comes aboard, my feeling is that Joel Quenneville has worn out his welcome with the Colorado Avalanche and Francois Giguere is echoing that sentiment by not extending his contract.

Related Links
Offseason Playbook: Forwards
Offseason Playbook: Defense
Offseason Playbook: Goaltending
Dater's take on Quenneville
Better know a free agent: Joel Quenneville