After three mediocre-declining-to-bad seasons behind the bench, legendary goaltender is out as Colorado Avalanche head coach and VP of hockey operations. And there’s a lot noteworthy about how this news broke, even independent of the content of Roy’s statement. (But the content is pretty telling too!)
I have thought long and hard over the course of the summer about how I might improve this team to give it the depth it needs and bring it to a higher level. To achieve this, 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.
Roy has proven one of the least successful hockey strategists and personnel decision-makers and managers of human beings currently working in the league, and he’s quitting because he wasn’t being given more control? Okay.
Roy’s resignation comes at a strange enough time, the absolute dead of the offseason. It was also released independently via PRNewswire, a very weird avenue for something like this, which usually goes through team PR—as of press time there is still no acknowledgment on the Avalanche’s website. This was not an amicable breakup.
Roy was a very old-school coach who unwittingly became a poster boy for Fancy Stats. His debut season of 2013-14, the Avs surprised everyone by winning the Central with 112 points despite putrid possession numbers. Roy took home the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year, even while smart observers called it a fluke and predicted a regression. Despite Roy’s loud and simplistic rebuttals, that’s exactly what happened. Colorado finished the next two seasons with 90 and 82 points, respectively.
The Avalanche are an oddly constructed team, but there is enough talent there to expect better performance than they’ve provided. It’s been discussed whether it would be in Colorado’s interest to just blow the whole thing up and start over, and it’ll be interesting to learn where Roy fell in that debate—and to learn the true state of his relationship with EVP of hockey ops Joe Sakic.
Anyway, the Roy-to-Montreal rumor is officially a go.
Update, 3:25 p.m. EDT: This Denver Post story notes that Sakic is on vacation and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Knowing anything about Roy, that timing wasn’t accidental.
The Avs finally put up a brief statement, about 80 minutes after Roy’s announcement. It probably took them that long just to track Sakic down.