- The ongoing rift between Patrick Roy and Avalanche GM Joe Sakic apparently came to a head with the signing of defenseman Tyson Barrie.
This Patrick Roy story is a big bag of curious.
Roy shocked the hockey world on Thursday with the news that he was stepping down after three seasons as the coach and VP of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche. But it wasn't just the decision that was shocking. It was how it came to light.
Roy, the master of the dramatic exit, released the news of his resignation himself, through a company called PR Newswire, rather than through the team. A major management change has never come to light like that. Ever.
It took nearly two hours for the Avs to even acknowledge Roy's departure, which suggests they heard about his decision at the same time the rest of us did.
Doesn't exactly speak to solid communication between Roy and his boss/longtime teammate Joe Sakic, does it?
That communication divide seems to have been a long-running issue between the two men, at least when it comes to how the Avalanche are constructed. It was clear, especially as last season wore on, that the two men had different ideas about how to make Colorado into a winner. Roy, for example, was harshly critical of the young players that made up the team's core and he expressed a desire for more experienced leadership. He also seemed to have very different ideas about how to build a successful defense...which is why the Tyson Barrie contract may have been the final straw.
Roy was not a fan of Barrie, a smallish, puck-moving defender, and the coach believed that the organization would better be served by employing a larger, stronger blue line. But Sakic re-signed the 24-year-old to a four-year, $22 million extension on July 31, demonstrating his faith in the player as part of the long-term solution.
That may not have sat well with Roy, who made it clear in his parting statement that he believed his input into the team's construction was being ignored.
"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," he said. "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."
So, rather than beat his head against the wall any longer, he chose to move on.
What's next? For the Avs, it means Sakic's vision has carried the day. Given some of Roy's decisions, particularly when it comes to defensive structure, that might be for the best and could lead to breakthroughs for youngsters like Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. Now, the search will have to begin soon for a new bench boss—preferably someone who doesn't expect to have a say in personnel issues. At this time of year though, their choices are limited. Former Avs coach Bob Hartley might be the best option, but Sakic could also look to first timers like Travis Green, Dave Lowry or Dean Chynoweth.
As for Roy? He'll likely be content to sit on the sidelines until the right opportunity presents itself.
In other words, Michel Therrien better hope Carey Price stays healthy, and that the Canadiens get off to a great start. If not, St. Patrick's Day could come early to Montreal.