Posted September 11, 2013 on AP on Fox
Patrick Roy stopped by a local coffee shop recently when a friendly stranger approached him for a casual conversation. ''They said, `Hey coach, how are you today?''' Roy recounted. ''I was like, `Oh, yeah, that's me.''' Indeed, and the Hall of Fame goaltender hopes to bring as much fiery passion to the Colorado Avalanche bench as he did to the net. Should the head coach ever get too amped up, well, at least he has his former teammate to keep him in check with Joe Sakic handling the day-to-day hockey operations this season. As players, Roy and Sakic teamed up to lead the Avalanche to a pair of Stanley Cup titles. Now in charge, Roy and Sakic will try to turn around a franchise that's missed the playoffs three straight seasons. ''We're going to have a Stanley Cup attitude,'' Roy pledged Wednesday as players reported for physicals a day before the start of training camp. ''In my years here, we were not perfect every night. But we gave ourselves a chance to win every night. When you pick that up as a player, you become a strong team.'' Unlike when Roy was wearing an Avalanche sweater, this squad has fallen on lean times. So much so that they had the second overall pick in 2011 (taking captain Gabriel Landeskog) and the top pick last June (selecting forward Nathan MacKinnon). Their confidence is a little bruised these days. ''We've learned how to lose,'' forward Matt Duchene said. ''Now, we have to learn how to win.'' That's where Roy enters the picture. ''I'm here to win,'' he said. ''It's not an ego thing. In my years in Denver, we all put our egos aside, and I'm going to put my ego on the side. There might be some nights I'm going to be upset, but I'm going to try and have it under control.'' He suddenly laughed. ''No, I will be under control,'' Roy quickly added. As a kid, Duchene grew up with posters of Roy and Sakic adorning his bedroom wall. Now, they're in charge of the team's resurrection. ''It's going to be cool,'' Duchene said. ''It's going to be special, for sure. I'm still getting used to it. But I'm excited to sit down and talk hockey with them. ''I've never been more excited for a season in my life. Everybody has so much confidence with these two guys at the helm. The buzz around the boys is way different. It's pure excitement.'' Landeskog couldn't agree more as he enters his second season as captain. ''We've had enough of losing and we're tired of losing and we want to change that,'' Landeskog said. ''We all know (Roy and Sakic) could've been on any golf course around the country playing right now. But they want to be here helping this team. It's up to us to respond. It's up to us to deliver.'' The Avalanche didn't make many splashy moves in the offseason, but they did orchestrate a trade with Calgary, sending David Jones and Shane O'Brien to the Flames for Cory Sarich and Alex Tanguay. For Tanguay, this is a return to the city where he helped Sakic and Roy win a Stanley Cup title in 2001. ''Knowing Patrick, he's got one thing in mind: Win hockey games,'' the 33-year-old Tanguay said. ''I know his personality as a player, and I'm sure that hasn't changed for him being a coach. He's going to look for ways to push this team moving forward and winning hockey games and take this team to where he wants to.'' This also helps: Steve Downie was just cleared to return to the ice after missing most of the lockout-abbreviated season with a torn ACL. He brings a toughness to the ice, not to mention leadership. Downie will be on the same line as MacKinnon, who turned 18 on Sept. 1. ''We don't want Nathan to come here to be our savior,'' Roy said. ''We want Nathan to be the (best) player he can be.'' Even though Roy is one of the best NHL goaltenders of all time, he doesn't plan to interfere that much with the development of Semyon Varlamov. He will leave that to Francois Allaire, the longtime goaltending guru who's worked with such notable names as Jean-Sebastien Giguere - who will also mentor Varlamov this season - and Roy. Over the summer, Allaire worked with Varlamov for two weeks in Montreal and another week in Switzerland. They changed Varlamov's style, although the player nicknamed ''Varly'' wouldn't say what precise modifications were made. So far, Roy likes what he sees from his young goalie. ''Varly is putting in a commitment that makes me believe he deserves a chance to prove himself,'' Roy said. ''We will give him that chance.''

Roy wants to surprise naysayers

Patrick Roy isn't predicting the Avalanche will return to the playoffs in his first season as head coach, but he and his players sure seemed excited and upbeat Wednesday with the official start of training camp. (Feel free to check out my story on "I know not too many experts put us in the playoffs," Roy said during a 30-minute news conference at the...

Colorado Avalanche set to begin training camp

The Colorado Avalanche finished rookie camp on Tuesday, giving the public a sneak peak at first pick Nathan MacKinnon in pro action.  Besides for a “love tap” to the face, all went well for MacKinnon.  The veterans will now get a chance to share some love with the rookies as training camp is set to start Thursday morning at the Family Sports Center in Centennial, Colo. and...

Avs' Roy anxious to get to work

Patrick Roy stopped by a local coffee shop recently when a friendly stranger approached him for a casual conversation. ''They said, `Hey coach, how are you today?''' Roy recounted. ''I was like, `Oh, yeah, that's me.''' Indeed, and the Hall of Fame goaltender hopes to bring as much fiery passion to the Colorado Avalanche bench as he did...

Nathan MacKinnon to center Avs' 3rd line; Steve Downie cleared to play

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said right wing Steve Downie has been cleared to participate in training camp and 18-year-old rookie Nathan MacKinnon is still set to center the third line between Downie and left wing Jamie McGinn. Roy who will begin his NHL coaching career Oct. 2 when the Avs host the Anaheim Ducks held his season-opening press conference at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday...

Rick Sadowski: Rookie MacKinnon adjusting to life as a pro

Nathan MacKinnon won't take part in his initial Avalanche scrimmage until Friday -- he spent the team's first day of on-ice workouts Thursday in a high-tempo practice session --and the 18-year-old center acknowledged that he is still adjusting to life as an NHL player. " It's totally sinking in, for sure," MacKinnon said at the Avalanche's practice facility...

Rick Sadowski: Roy era set to begin

There hasn't been this much anticipation for a Colorado Avalanche training camp since, well, let's just say it has been a while. After all, the Avalanche has missed the playoffs three years in a row and in four of the past five seasons, no easy feat. The hiring of Joe Sakic as the team's executive vice president of hockey operations and that of new head...

Pens Sign Chuck Kobasew to PTO Contract

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed former Colorado Avalanche forward Chuck Kobasew to a PTO (professional try out) for training camp. Kobasew was on the Avalanche's 4th line collecting 5 goals and 9 points in 37 games.For those that do not know how a PTO contract work here's the basic breakdown.This type of contract is limited to 25 games and a player can only be signed...

Patrick Roy Knows He Faces A “Great Challenge”

from Ray Sadowski at,  Patrick Roy was relaxing at a local coffee shop recently when a stranger entered, spotted him sitting at a table by himself and dropped by to say hello. "Hey, coach, how are you doing today?'" Roy related Wednesday. "I was like, 'Oh, yeah, that's me.'" Call it the dawn of a new era for the Colorado...
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