Colorado Avalanche goaltending in a good place under Patrick Roy
Many things were said during and after the press conference that introduced former Colorado Avalanche great Patrick Roy as the new Head Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations, but one of the most important takeaways was about goaltending.
There was concern early on about how both Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere would handle the pressure of having one of the greatest goaltenders of all time calling the shots with the Avalanche. Would they meet his high standards? Could they possibly perform knowing what he accomplished while with the very same club as a player?
It’s possible that having the Hall of Fame netminder in charge will cause problems, but Roy didn’t experience that during his time with the Quebec Remparts. No doubt due, in part, to the fact that he was smart enough to leave that job to the goalie coach.
“Never had problems. You know why? Because I leave… all the talk to the goalie coach,” said Roy. “Yes, we’re going to have a goalie coach. I have someone in mind. We’re going to have a goalie coach. No doubt about it.”
Hearing that the team’s new direction includes plans to have a goalie coach – not a consultant – with the club is a major step in the right direction. There’s no doubt that a young, up-and-coming superstar like Varlamov will benefit from having constant attention, which he certainly hasn’t had since coming to Denver. In fact, one could argue that Varlamov has taken a major setback in his development due to the fact that there was no full-time staff member working with him everyday.
Yes Giguere has been there for support, but he can only do so much.
“[I] try to keep it positive, keep it light. As a goalie sometimes you tend to see the dark side of things. I try to make him see the good side of things, try to not beat himself up because, whichever situation he might be in, I’ve been there before,” said Giguere earlier in the season when asked about his mentor role. “So I try to use that and try to move forward as a goalie tandem.”
“Yes I’m going to have conversations with Giggy and we’re going to talk about the game itself but no, I’ve never had problems,” said Roy. “I’m always trying to not make the mistake to be too tough on them and I don’t try to compare whoever to me. That’s probably the worst mistake…”
Knowing that a local legend isn’t comparing those who follow him to what he accomplished before lifts a big weight off of the shoulders of Colorado’s current keepers. Which is good because they certainly have a lot expected of them when the puck drops in October.
“Varlamov and Giguere are two very good goalies. Giggy could be certainly helpful a lot to Varlamov and I’m sure he’s already done that. I haven’t talked to Giggy since I took the job but I’m sure he’s like a big brother to him and is going to help him become an even better goalie,” said Roy.
“I think it’s a good thing for this organization,” said Giguere in an interview on his team’s website. “I expect the guys to act as professionals. I expect to win every night, even though it’s not going to happen because that’s impossible. I expect our attitude’s going to be that ‘we’re here to win, we’re here to play hockey.’ Whether it’s a practice, a game day, or even a day off.”
“It’s impossible to win every night but, at the very least, it’s not impossible to work hard every night.”
For Giguere, playing for his childhood idol is certainly exciting but he knows that, when training camp starts, it’s time for business.
“Come September, you can’t think of him as Patrick Roy [and] the Hall of Fame goaltending. You’ve got to think of him as your coach and, just like any other coach, you’ve got to try to learn to know him and try to respect what he’s saying and try to do his system,” said Giguere. “Having a young team, I think he’s a great coach because he’s going to teach the young guys what it’s like to be a winner, which is a good thing.”
Confident in the goaltending situation, Roy admits that his primary concern is making the Avs lethal on the front end which, in turn, alleviates pressure on the back end. From there, he can begin working on the train wreck that is Colorado’s defensive group.
“My objective is to be a bit of what the Avalanche has always been, a very offensive team, a lot of scoring chances, and the goalie, do your job,” said Roy.
At the end of the day, winning is as important as showing followers that there is a desire to win. Roy knows how important hometown support is and plans on fielding a competitive team in order to bring fans back to Pepsi Center.
“You have fans to respect,” said Roy. “There’s people coming to the rink, they pay money to sit in the stands, and they’re coming every night.”
What do you think? Confident in Roy’s ability to shore up the goaltending? Like the fact that there are plans for a goalie coach?