Put your ear to the ice and you’ll hear something coming to the NHL. Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy is getting more attention each year and appears to be intent on coaching at the top level. He says he’s ready. Jeremy White asks: Could that be Darcy Regier’s big move?
It’s hard to know what Roy has in mind for his NHL coaching career. There are some suggesting that he’s destined to take a front office job. Some think he’s going to be a dynamic coach that will energize a team in need of a boost.
Roy has been closely linked to NHL gigs before. He was offered the job in Colorado, and he was the favorite to get Montreal’s job before the Canadiens went with Michel Therrien (and they’ll probably keep him for a while).
Patrick Roy represents exactly what the Buffalo Sabres need. This franchise is in desperate need of a fresh pair of eyes. The Sabres need some sort of identity as well. Patrick Roy would immediately give the Sabres locker room a level of credibility that it doesn’t have, and hasn’t had in approximately six years.
Roy has Stanley Cups. The Buffalo Sabres, to a man, do not.
Roy has had plenty of success coaching in the QMJHL, and oh-by-the-way is the coach currently in charge of your young wonder-kid that you hope develops into a top tier NHL player. This isn’t to say that you hire a coach just for Mikhail Grigorenko, but it’s in the mix.
The move would make sense for Grigorenko’s future.
The move would make sense for Ryan Miller’s as well. I don’t know whether or not Regier has plans on bringing Miller back after next season, but perhaps a Hall of Fame goaltender as the coach could help get that done. Who better to understand what Miller goes through than a goaltender that once removed himself from a team because he’d been hung out to dry?
The move would make sense for the franchise image.
Success. Credibility. Attitude.
Patrick Roy might not be the nicest guy in a room of NHL coaches (He did send his son to go fight another goaltender). It will be suggested that he might not be quite ready to deal with the media or fans NHL level expectations (But he did have the best smack-talk line of all time).
What kind of coach might he be? ESPN's Scott Burnside filed this piece about Roy, surprising his friends and critics.
"Explosively passionate about winning (he once destroyed a television and VCR unit in Anaheim after a game in which then-Colorado coach Bob Hartley, now a close friend, had the temerity to briefly pull Roy even though the Avs went on to win the game), many believed Roy simply did not have the proper emotional makeup to coach junior hockey. Yet he has embraced the role, channeling that passion into a completely different space, in a way that continues to surprise friends and critics alike."
I’m trying to figure out why the Sabres have labeled Ron Rolston as the INTERIM Head Coach. Rolston has worked with a number of the players through their development in Rochester and now he’s calling the shots for the parent club. Is it a foregone conclusion that he’ll head back to Rochester next year?
There’s a question that I’ve been struggling with since Rolston was named interim coach of the Buffalo Sabres: What’s the goal?
Make the playoffs?
Develop some kids?
I can’t seem to figure out whether or not Rolston is coaching to keep this job, or to get it lined up for someone else. It’s entirely possible that Rolston is minding the store in the interim, and would head back to Rochester with some NHL experience and good standing within the organization.
To some that may seem unfair, but the truth is that a quick stint in the NHL and then back to the AHL is nothing unusual - players do it all the time.
This brings us to embattled General Manager Darcy Regier. Armed with a contract extension (and seemingly full support of ownership) it’ll likely be Regier picking the next coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
He installs Rolston as the interim coach with eyes on getting a new head man to start next season. He may have decided to ride out this season and get some “development” for the kids, and then hand the keys to the big rig over to someone he feels more deserving of the gig. The Sabres haven’t ruled Rolston out as head coach going forward, but why hold back the title? The Sabres could remove that “interim” tag and fire him the next day. Does the GM possibly have the mindset that the coach of the team has to “earn it” the way that the players do?
They’re holding back that title for a reason, right?
Regier calls Roy a “terrific coach”, and freely admits that he’s “had a number of converstions with Patrick over the last few weeks.”
Regier and Roy have a working relationship. Regier frequently mentions conversations that he has with Patrick Roy. He has had reason to talk with Roy for the better part of the last year, as the organization set its sights on Mikhail Grigorenko.
In short - the Sabres GM has had frequent conversations with one of the NHL’s hottest coaching candidates, in a season where he’s rolling out an interim coach and quite possibly looking to reinvent the Sabres brand.
The biggest roadblock may be the GM himself. Would Darcy Regier hire this "terrific coach" that's known to be a huge personality and might clash with people more than Lindy Ruff or Ron Rolston would?
We’ll have to wait and see whether or not the GM keeps his job, and then what the future brings at head coach.
My guess is that if they wanted Ron Rolston as the coach, they’d take off that interim tag.
Leaving tags on? Isn’t that the easiest way to return something?