Roy: ‘Last year everything was bouncing our way’


The Colorado Avalanche were blanked 6-0 by the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. The Avs (4-8-5) now have just one win in six games and one regulation win on the road this season (1-5-3).

“Obviously last year everything was bouncing our way,” coach Patrick Roy said post-game. “Right now, it’s tougher, but at the same time, I’ll say this: we need to stay together, we need to continue to work hard at the things that we’ve been doing well.

“Tonight was just a bad game and we need to regroup tomorrow, have a good practice and be ready for the Rangers.”

Nick Leddy and Anders Lee gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Travis Hamonic and Nikolay Kulemin made it 4-0 after two periods. Then Casey Cizikas and Ryan Strome each added their firsts of the season in the third.

“They played really well, have to give them credit they were really intense,” Roy said. “They were jumping on a lot of pucks, they put pucks at the net, I mean they did a lot of good things.”

Semyon Varlamov allowed six goals on 46 shots and saw his record fall to 2-5-4 on the season. Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for his 30th career shutout. The Islanders outshot the Avalanche 13-5 in the first period while Colorado had just 15 shots on goal in the final 40 minutes.

“It’s a team that’s much improved,” Roy said of the Islanders. “It’s a game where we were not at our best without a doubt. We knew we need to be better in order to win that type of game, for sure.”

Avs happy Iginla picked them


When 19-year NHL veteran Jarome Iginla chose to sign with the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason he did so knowing he was joining a young dressing room, but he didn’t arrive in Denver looking to change much.

“I just want to come and honestly just work and prepare each day, play whatever role is given and play hard,” said Iginla. “It’s not like trying to come up with any sayings or anything like that, they’ve been around a long time especially for how young they are.”

Colorado was in the middle of the pack as the 15th youngest team in the league last season, but with Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene – the corner stones of the franchise – all under the age of 23, the 37-year-old has left an impact early in the season.

“They had a great year last year, they’ve been improving so much and there’s a lot of young stars in the room,” said Iginla. “You talk to Duch, he’s been in the league six years, he’s only 23 so it’s not like… it’s a young team, but it’s not an extremely inexperienced team. A lot of these guys have a had  a lot of success already.”

For Landeskog, a young captain, having Iginla around has been beneficial.

“He certainly comes in and brings a lot of leadership and a lot of that quiet leadership and the experience that he’s got,” said Landeskog, 21. “Certainly a lot of fun to be around and a lot of fun to see how he works and goes about his business on a day-to-day basis. He’s certainly brought a lot.”

Added Duchene, “You learn a lot from him. I think he’s one of those guys that he’s good for a reason. He puts the work in, he takes care of himself, he sees the game well. He lives and breathes it. It’s just amazing to see the passion and drive a 37-year-old who has done so much can still have.”

When Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf broke into the league as a 20-year-old with the Calgary Flames, the impact a then 28-year-old Iginla had on the defenseman was significant.

“For me, he was great to me when I came in as a young guy in helping me find my way into the National Hockey League,” said Phaneuf. “The biggest thing that I learned from him is how hard he works on and off the ice. He’s a guy that played extremely hard for his team, stuck up for his teammates, played a hard style of hockey and he scored goals.

“He’s a guy that I can’t say enough good things about. He taught me a lot about what it took to, not only break into the NHL, but how to be a professional and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him.”

Despite his age, Iginla has shown no real sign of slowing down. The Edmonton, Alberta native was tied for the team lead in goals (30) in Boston last season and finished third in points (61) behind only David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.

“So far, he’s very good for us,” said coach Patrick Roy. “He’s an experienced player, works really hard when he’s on the ice. I think he shows a lot of good examples for our guys.”

No matter the reason he signed in Colorado during the offseason, the Avs are happy to have him.

“I know he wants the cup so bad,” said Duchene. “He picked us to try and win it with and it’s a big compliment for us.”

Avs’ Tanguay looking to bounce back from injury riddled season


Hip and knee injuries allowed Avalanche veteran Alex Tanguay to appear in just 16 games in 2013-14.

Now healthy, he’s at Colorado’s camp looking to be a factor this season.

“Last year I was a passenger, watching from the sideline,” Tanguay told The Denver Post. “I was almost a fan. But this year I want to be a part of it, and I’m hoping to contribute quite a bit.”

The 34-year-old helped the Avs get out to a 12-1 start last fall, but was then sidelined for 36 games with hip and knee injuries. Tanguay returned for just three games before Colorado shut him down for the remainder of the season.

In February, the forward underwent major hip surgery.

“It was a long, long road with a lot of frustration, lots of everything, and I just wish the surgery would have been done in November, looking back,” Tanguay said. “But at the time we thought I would be able to come back and play. It just didn’t pan out that way.”

According to the Post’s Mike Chambers, Tanguay is expected to star the season on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.

Tanguay, who helped lure free agent Jarome Iginla to Denver, should get a jump start playing with the two gifted forwards.

The former Avalanche first round pick (12th overall in 1998) had four goals and seven points before having his season ended last year.

Tanguay helped sell Iginla on Colorado


Jarome Iginla’s had a little bit of help in choosing to sign with the Colorado Avalanche this summer.

According to L.A. Lariviere of TVA Sports (link in French), former Calgary Flames and soon-to-be Avalanche teammate Alex Tanguay helped convince Iginla Denver was the place to be. Here’s a poorly translated quote from the story:

“A week before, Joe Sakic (vice-president of hockey operations) called me,” Tanguay said. “He asked me Jarome’s phone number. They asked me to call him to sell the merits of Colorado. It was not difficult!”

Tanguay and Iginla were teammates in Calgary for two seasons from 2006-2008 and they worked together as part of a dynamic top line with Daymond Langkow. In Colorado, they figure to be more the veteran leaders on a team that’s relatively young and talented.

Iginla’s three-year, $16 million contract after coming off a 30-goal season with the Boston Bruins puts him in a bigger position to help out right away. Tanguay, on the other hand, dealt with injury trouble last season and played just 16 games.

Getting to play alongside Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O’Reilly, and Gabriel Landeskog probably had a lot to do with Tanguay’s sales pitch. Having Patrick Roy as coach and Sakic running the show doesn’t hurt either.

Looking to make the leap: Stefan Elliott


During the 2011-12 season, Stefan Elliott made a name for himself as a 21-year-old with the Colorado Avalanche.

Elliott had offensive abilities from the blue line (four goals and 13 points in 39 games) and seemingly had upside that left them thinking they might have something special. Two seasons later, and just 19 NHL games since then, like the title of the post says, he’ll be looking to make the leap in 2014-15.

What’s hurt Elliott, now 23, is seeing other young defenseman seizing the opportunity when called up. Tyson Barrie, Ryan Wilson and Nick Holden are looking more like sure things to stay on Colorado’s blue line, and only Barrie is his equal in age. While Wilson and Holden are four years older, the Avs’ lack of defensive strength was part of their undoing last season.

With defensemen being counted on to carry and possess the puck more and more in today’s game, Elliott’s work during his rookie season showed he can do just that. As Behind The Net tabulated, his possession numbers were strong over those 39 games in 2011-12. In 18 games the following year, he was equally effective.

Last season, however, he played just one game for the Avs. While he had a bad possession night, he scored a goal in the final regular-season game of the year.

Colorado weren’t exactly darlings of advanced metrics, but if Elliott is given a bit more of a look, he might stand a chance to produce better than guys like Wilson or defensive-defensemen like Nate Guenin and Jan Hejda. Considering how poor the Avs were on defense, giving Elliott a shot to show he’s worth it might be Patrick Roy’s best move.