Roy to Montreal Speculation Begins
Hours after Patrick Roy resigned as the Colorado Avalanche’s head coach, speculation emerged linking him to the Montreal Canadiens.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Patrick Roy’s resignation yesterday as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche could turn up the heat on Montreal Canadiens bench boss Michel Therrien, who’s come under increasing criticism from fans and pundits after the Habs missed the playoffs last season. Cowan speculates a poor start by the Canadiens in the upcoming season could put Therrien on a short leash.
Team owner Geoff Molson’s made it clear a French-speaking coach is a very important factor for the club. Cowan doubts, however, GM Marc Bergevin is in a rush to replace Therrien, who is signed through 2021-22. With the club having dealt away a larger-than-life personality this summer in defenseman P.K. Subban, Cowan doesn’t see Bergevin and Molson being in any hurry to bring in another.
SI.COM: Allan Muir suggests 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.”
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector also notes some will say Roy could be Therrien’s replacement if the Canadiens struggle this fall. Roy’s desire to have control over player personnel issues, however, could make him radioactive for Habs GM Bergevin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy won the Jack Adams Trophy in 2014 as NHL coach of the year for guiding the Avalanche to their first playoff berth since 2010. But let’s be honest here, the real reason the Avs made the playoffs was largely due to goaltender Semyon Varlamov having a career season.
At the time Roy’s critics pointed out the Avs were among the league’s worst puck-possession clubs that season and gave up the sixth-most shots-against per game. Over the next two seasons, the Avs worsening puck-possession and shots-against numbers were significant reasons why they missed the playoffs. During most of Therrien’s current tenure, the Habs had their own issues in those categories. Hiring Roy probably won’t improve those stats.
Sure, it’s tempting to link Roy to the Canadiens if they struggle this coming season under Therrien, who’s come under a considerable amount of justified criticism for his handling of the roster. Given the dire dearth of real NHL news at this time of year, talk of replacing Therrien with Roy will help fill a few days.
However, if Therrien is replaced at some point, I doubt they’ll take on Roy. His outspoken style, big personality and desire for control beyond the bench would create a toxic relationship with Bergevin and Molson. By trading away Subban this summer, they made it very clear that they don’t like outsized personalities on their team. If a coaching change becomes necessary, I think they’ll pass on Roy.
The same applies if Molson decides to shake up the front office. Yes, Roy has years of management experience from his days running the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, and he had a hand in front-office decisions with the Avalanche. However, his brash, outspoken style would clash with Molson’s quiet methods of doing business.