Patrick Roy still breaking the ice as a manager in NHL

As Colorado’s first-year coach, former goalkeeper Patrick Roy has left his mark on the NHL play-offs, even though his team lost in the first round, writes Rob McKenzie.
Coach Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche led his team into the NHL play-offs where they fell to the Minnesota Wild but not before some memorable late-game tactics. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Coach Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche led his team into the NHL play-offs where they fell to the Minnesota Wild but not before some memorable late-game tactics. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Patrick Roy is not normal.

When he was a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, he would talk to his goalposts.

When his coach yanked him from a game with the score 9-1, Roy barked at the team’s president, sitting nearby, that he would never play for Montreal again – and was promptly shipped to the Colorado Avalanche. When Roy was coaching junior hockey, in 2008, he was suspended for inciting his team’s goalie – his son, Jonathan – to pummel the other team’s goalie during a brawl.

Now, as Colorado’s first-year coach, he has left his mark on the play-offs, even though his team lost in the first round.

In Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, Roy pulled his goalie with 3:01 left and Colorado down 2-1.

Most coaches do not dare to pull the goalie until the last 90 seconds of the third period. It gives you an extra attacker but leaves your net empty: big risk.

Roy’s bold tactic worked. Paul Stastny scored with 14 seconds left for the tie and Colorado went on to win in overtime. In Game 6, Roy pulled the goalie with 2:44 left and Minnesota scored into the empty net twice to turn a 3-2 lead into a 5-2 win. When you add it up, Roy turned impending defeat into victory and then turned impending defeat into defeat by a bigger margin.

Really, he lost nothing.

I would love to see underdogs try this tactic more often in games – and not just when defeat is a few seconds away as a “David” strategy to give them a better chance against Goliaths.

rmckenzie@thenational.ae

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Published: May 4, 2014 04:00 AM

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