A lot has been made this offseason of all the changes surrounding the Colorado Avalanche.
The on-ice staff (the coaches) is mostly different from last year’s group, some front-office faces have changed since April, and some players are different, too.
And while the franchise opened its training camp in Centennial, Colo., a little more than a week ago, giving fans a small glimpse of some of those changes in action, the real unveiling happens Wednesday night
It’s time for Colorado to pull the curtain on a new era, with new Avs coach Patrick Roy front and center, ready to step into the spotlight.
It’s time to get the 2013-14 season started.
The Avalanche opens its preseason schedule against Anaheim at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pepsi Center, and with the puck drop, Roy will be back representing the Avs on a game night for the first time since he announced his retirement more than 10 years ago.
He was hired in May, and he’s been working toward this moment ever since.
“We’re going to have a Stanley Cup attitude,” Roy said last week during his Media Day press conference when asked what will be different about the club under his watch. “You don’t have to play well every night to win games. 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.”
The beginning of that transformation begins Wednesday, when the Avs welcome the Ducks, who are 1-1 this preseason and who finished second in the Western Conference last year before losing to Detroit in the first round of the playoffs.
Wednesday’s game will be the first of two during the preseason for the two teams (Colorado plays in Anaheim on Sunday, Sept. 22), and it will also serve as a preview for opening night, when Anaheim will be right back on Colorado’s home ice.
“I don’t know how they planned it, but it’s one of those things where you get your first shot at a team we’re going to see a few times the next couple weeks,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We’ll get a little bit of a feel for them, but they won’t have their full lineup out there and neither will we. So we’ll take it with a grain of salt, but at the same time it is a game, and you always want to win.
“It doesn’t matter what lineup we have or what lineup they have. We’ll make sure we go out there and try to get the two points.”
Sunday’s Burgundy/White Game gave Roy and his assistants a chance to see some of their players in game action in an intrasquad scrimmage setting, and Roy left for the most part pleased.
He said afterward there were definitely some things he wanted his team to work on, as he saw some of the same mistakes being made that were also made last season.
Roy was known for his intensity as a player, and, while he’s mellowed a bit since leaving the ice, he’s still proven during training camp that he’s going to be a stickler for details.
He won four Stanley Cups in his playing career, so he knows all the elements necessary to building a championship team. And it starts right there—with the details.
“In my eight years in Denver we were working hard every day, and we wanted to have a good practice every day,” Roy said. "There are going to be nights where we’re not going to play as well, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose the hockey game. If we work hard—[if] we have good habits out there—I think we’re going to win some of those games. And at the end it might be the two or whatever points [we need] in our season to make the playoffs.
“We’ve got lots of talent on our team. We’ve got unbelievable players, skill-wise, but I think the day we’re all going to gel and we’re all going to understand that we’re a very good team when we play together, I think that’s when this team is going to hit the right direction.”
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