Here's the big stumper for Avalanche coach Patrick Roy and executive Joe Sakic: If they're the biggest stars on the team, being NHL legends won't stop them from getting fired. "We had our past. We had our time. It's not our time any more," Sakic told me shortly after Roy was introduced as savior of the moribund franchise. "Patrick and I have discussed it. He doesn't want to be the star. It's the players' team. It's our job to find and develop the players. It's the players who are going to win the Stanley Cup. If we win another Stanley Cup in Colorado, it's not going to be Patrick, and it's not going to be Joe. It's going to be the players." The Avalanche has dared to mess with the grand NHL tradition of putting the team before individual stars. There's no doubt Sakic and Roy know their stuff at the rink. And there's no questioning their competitive zeal. But let's keep it real: Hiring the two greatest players in Avalanche history to lead the recovery was also an unabashed made-you-look stunt to stimulate ticket sales. Roy will make headlines, sound bites and waves to demand attention from a city with a pro football obsession. But if Roy doesn't make the Avs a playoff team in short order, the novelty will wear off quickly. To his credit, Roy understands NHL coach is among the least secure jobs in North America. With his typical brash self-confidence, he claims to be unconcerned. "You know what? I took a nonguaranteed contract with the Avalanche. And I don't care. I'm not nervous about losing my job," Roy said. "I'm not here for the money. I'm here for the fans. I'm here for this organization. And I'm here to prove to myself that I'm capable of having success at the NHL level." It is winger Gabe Landeskog and defenseman Seth Jones (or whatever hot, young prospect the Avs land in the draft) who need to make the lower-bowl seats in the Pepsi Center valuable again.
Avs' players need to be the stars, not Roy or Sakic
Denver Post | Jun 6