When Patrick Roy resigned from the Colorado Avalanche, the idea that Montreal head coach Michel Therrien could eventually be replaced by Roy was brought up. In many ways, Roy being the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens would be a bad move. Between his less than stellar coaching at times, his need for control and the fact it would cause a media circus, Roy behind in the bench in Montreal would cause a major distraction.
Except for maybe Toronto, no other NHL city can rival Montreal when it comes to media scrutiny. Every move is dissected in painful detail from lines at practice to the games themselves. Therrien has the spotlight right on him as the head coach and if it was Roy, that spotlight would be even brighter due to his status as a Habs legend. Roy’s fiery temper that he displayed as a player has reared its head as a coach and a hissy fit on the bench or in front of the Montreal media would be talked about for days if not weeks. Roy’s passion and intensity are both a blessing and a curse for him. His intensity made him one of the greatest goaltenders of all time but it has also resulted in meltdowns and questionable decisions. If the Habs thought PK Subban was too much, having the larger than life Roy would be an odd choice.
Is He Any Better Than Therrien?
At this point, there are fans who are not Therrien supporters that would take anyone but him behind the bench. However, would Roy really be a better option than Therrien? The underlying stats say no despite Therrien’s baffling coaching decisions at times. Other than a surprise division winning season in 2014, Roy was unable to elevate a young Colorado Avalanche team brimming with talent to the next level as they consistently ranked near the bottom of the standings the last two seasons.
In his tenure, the team lost Ryan O’Reilly (trade) and Paul Stastny (free agency) which hurts but considering he had a core of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Jarome Iginla, Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Semyon Varlamov to work with, surely the team should have performed better. Colorado does play in a very tough division and the Avs faced a steady diet of Dallas, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg, but considering the amount of young talent they have, more was expected.
In terms of puck possession, Colorado didn’t perform well in this category and during their division-winning year, they relied on a career year from Varlamov and a high shooting percentage. Roy had one year left on his deal and it’s hard to imagine that if he had stayed and the Avs miss playoffs again this upcoming season, that he would have been retained. Colorado has had the same problems for years such as inconsistency and playing down to their competition at times. The team relies heavily on goaltending to win and when they don’t receive quality netminding, their game suffers. Roy’s overall record with the team was 130-92-24.
One of the biggest reasons that Roy left Colorado was the fact he wanted to be heavily involved in personnel decisions and it appears that he wasn’t always on the same page as the rest of the management group. It is important that the general manager and coach are on the same page and that they communicate consistently of what they want and need. While coaching the Quebec Remparts, in the QMJHL, Roy acted as general manager and coach successfully but it’s not the same at the NHL level.
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) March 11, 2016
For the immediate future, Montreal appears committed to Therrien. However, if the team goes downhill and Therrien is shown the door, Roy shouldn’t be considered a front-runner for the job. His need to be heavily involved in decision making and the media scrutiny would be a huge distraction. Quite frankly, those two things aside, there are better coaches out there than Roy but the Habs could look his way if the French speaking component is necessary. It would certainly be entertaining to see Roy behind the bench in Montreal but just because he is a legend there, it doesn’t mean he is destined to coach his old team.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ryerson University. I am a freelance journalist and a Montreal Canadiens writer for The Hockey Writers. I previously wrote for Simcoe.com and Last Word on Sports as well as interned at TSN.