Roy says offense will continue to be the ‘identity’ of the Avs


In 2013-14, Patrick Roy’s first season behind Colorado’s bench, the Avalanche players couldn’t gush enough about their new coach’s philosophy– especially when it was compared to their old coach’s system, one in which they never really believed.

“In the past, we played a lot of D-to-D, chip-it-up-the-wall kind of hockey,” said Erik Johnson. “Now, there’s a lot of flow to our game, where we come out of the zone with speed. We’re really utilizing our best asset, which is our speed.”

The Avs went on to win the Central Division and, for that, Roy was named the NHL’s coach of the year.

Then 2014-15 happened. As we all know, things didn’t go so well for Colorado last season. The Avs finished tied with the Flyers for the 21st-ranked defense and missed the playoffs by a considerable margin.

So, time to tighten things up? Maybe play a bit more conservatively?

Not a chance.

“That does not mean we cannot play well defensively,” Roy told “But if you look at our training camp this year, the first thing we did is work on our offense, we didn’t work on our defense. We worked on our offense first. We want to make everyone accountable, but at the same time, we believe that that is our identity, this is who we are, and this is how we want to play. We want to have entertaining hockey here night after night.”

“Look at the Chicago Blackhawks,” added GM Joe Sakic. “It’s speed, that’s what we want.”

Of course, the ‘Hawks, when they’ve won their Stanley Cups, have been among the best defensive teams in the NHL (5th in 2010, 1st in 2013, 2nd in 2015). Not so much because they played a boring, conservative style, but, rather, because it’s hard to score on a team that has the puck all the time.

That will be the challenge for the Avs.

“When you’re an offensive team, where we like to go on the rush, then you’re not going to possess the puck as long as you’d like to,” said Roy. “We’re not a team that’s going to cycle and eat time in the O-zone.”

Time will tell if that strategy pays off.

With five home games in their first seven, the Avs have a good opportunity to start the 2015-16 campaign on a strong note.

That’s something they didn’t do last year, and were never able to recover.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.