Avalanche coach Patrick Roy is finding out last year is over. If a struggling start is not any indication, then the fans booing his team off their home ice last night should do the trick. It’s a humbling experience to get booed by the home fans.
Being booed at home is not only a reflection on his players, but it’s a reflection on him for not getting his team prepared and ready to go. This is something coaches and players take to heart, especially a competitor in Roy.
The Avalanche’s 5-2 loss to the Canucks is testing anyone’s patience. The fans are tired of the team losing. It gets players restless. There’s no question Roy is seething privately.
The Avs are 3-6-5 in 14 games. That’s enough to put them in last place in the Northwest Division. With so many great teams in that division, the team can’t dig themselves into a hole where they have to struggle to get out of it. That’s why it’s not early anymore from Roy’s perspective. There has to be a sense of urgency, even if it’s November 5th.
Roy is trying not to panic. He knows if he does, it will rub off on the players. Still, he has to get his guys going a little bit. He has to find that necessary balance to get his point across. That isn’t easy for any head coach or manager in sports of any level. That’s why being a head coach or manager is difficult.
It isn’t just getting his point across. It’s about making sure guys are paying attention and executing. He has to have his guys prepared by having them disciplined.
The last thing Roy needs is to start losing his players by being overbearing. As a goaltender, he knows full well coaches can lose his audience in the room if he keeps harping the same thing. This is a challenge that he has to deal with during his team’s rough start.
In so many ways, this season is challenging than last season in Roy’s second year as NHL head coach. It was easy last year for Roy to command attention of his players. For one thing, they were craving for direction and structure. Second of all, Roy was a Hall of Fame player, so players would gravitate to him.
Now, players know what Roy is about. They know what to expect. Roy has to continue to sell his players and make sure they don’t become complacent after last year’s success. This is his next challenge.
Head coaches never graduate. They always have to learn on the job by making sure their players keep their eye on the prize. They have to make sure players are on the same page with them. They have to make sure these guys are ready. The second-year Avalanche head coach is learning the hard way about how to keep his players focused.
This is not to suggest Roy is losing his players. That’s far from it. He has to make sure he can’t lose his players by going nuts after every loss. That would mean he is panicking, and then the players feed off from it. He has to maintain his sanity, and he has done a good job of it.
Still, there comes a time where Roy has to say screw It and go after his players. That may be coming soon. For all we know, he may have went off on his players after blowing a 2-0 lead that resulted to the Canucks scoring four unanswered goals in the third period last night. Coaches can only be patience so long.
It’s no longer early anymore. Days go faster these days. Poor start becomes a case where guys are comfortable with losing. It would mean guys expect to lose.
There are many concerns about this start now. The Avs have struggled to score at times, and their defense has been porous at best. There are times where they have come out flat in games, and they never recovered. They have been disorganized.
It’s a mess Roy is trying to figure it out. Even he does not have the answers despite what people think.
Right now, the team is finding their way.
For the Avs, it’s going to take time, but it can’t be forever. There are times where they have to start going on a run just to stay afloat.
All’s not lost yet, but sooner or later, it can become a hole.
That’s why Roy has to wonder when it’s the right time to go off.
Maybe the next game he does.
Contact or Follow Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter
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Leslie is a contributor for Lightning Rod Sports. He covered high school sports in Bergen County out in North Jersey, and has written op-ed columns on sports such as Bleacher Report and NY Sports Digest.