The Colorado Avalanche went from being the worst team in the Western Conference to one of the NHL’s top squads under the guidance of rookie head coach Patrick Roy.
It’s hard to put that in perspective immediately after losing a hard fought Game 7 that went to overtime, but Roy tried.
“I have mixed feelings,” he said, according to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. “There is a side of me that is disappointed. There’s also a side of me that’s extremely proud of our players.”
Roy took a young team that might stay largely intact for years and, along with executive vice president Joe Sakic, changed the its culture.
“One quality we had all year is we were never satisfied, and we’re certainly not going to start tonight,” Roy said after his team’s elimination, per the Avalanche’s Twitter account.
The challenge going forward will be how the Avalanche build off of this season. Will they regress after largely losing their underdog status? Will they continue to have difficulty taking the next step forward in the postseason and grow stagnate like so many young squads before them? Or can they be the next Chicago Blackhawks?
Roy’s work is far from done, but his debut was certainly impressive.