Few would have expected Patrick Roy to resign from his post as coach and vice president of hockey operations with the Avalanche, and you can count Colorado GM Joe Sakic among those who didn’t see the move coming.
It’d be hard to blame Sakic for not seeing it coming, either. After a second unsuccessful consecutive season missing the post-season and two straight years of taking a step backward in terms of point totals, Roy had managed to hang onto his job in Colorado despite some believing the Avalanche needed a shakeup behind the bench.
But Roy, out of the blue, decided to leave the franchise with roughly a month to go before training camp. Sakic said a lot of Roy’s decision had to do with the team’s performance this past season.
"The big thing when he talked to me today was last year was a tough year, he didn't have a lot of fun and we always said as long as we're enjoying what we're doing and having fun we'll keep doing it," Sakic said, via the Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno. "He said in the last three, four weeks he just really contemplated not coming back and not coaching and thought he made the right decision for himself. I totally respect him for that."
Even with Sakic saying the choice had to do with enjoyment and fulfillment, something it doesn’t sound as if Roy was getting in Colorado, it’s hard to look past the statement Roy released upon his resignation. Shortly after news broke that Roy would be stepping away from the coaching gig, he released a statement that seemed to point to an unhappiness with the level of control he had when it came to decision-making within the organization.
“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,” Roy said in the statement. “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.”
However, Sakic said it’s not worth reading between the lines, adding that he doesn’t believe it’s “anything more than it was a statement.” Sakic added that during the early years of his tenure as GM he leaned heavily on Roy, but as the staff was built up — “with a staff we all really trust” — Sakic tried to let Roy focus on the coaching aspect more than the front office work.
“Patty was always involved,” Sakic said, via The Denver Post’s Terry Frei. “Especially early, he was a big help to me. No, he was always involved. He was aware of all the decisions we were making. To be honest with you, I think that’s a question you have to ask Patrick. I know we talked about everything.”
It’s not as if Sakic let Roy walk away without asking him to stay, either. Sakic said he asked Roy if he wanted to give the decision more thought, but the former Avalanche netminder said he had made up his mind.
So now the search begins for the next bench boss in Colorado. Sakic said the team doesn’t have a timetable for having a new coach in place, but that the Avalanche “would obviously like to have one before training camp.”
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