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Patrick Roy resigns from Avalanche

Leaves after coaching Colorado to Stanley Cup Playoffs one time in three seasons

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Patrick Roy's decision to resign as coach and vice president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday caught general manager Joe Sakic 'off guard.'

"Patrick called me today and informed me the last three or four weeks he was wrestling with this and said he was going to resign today," Sakic said. "I asked him if he wanted to give it more thought and he said he was very comfortable (with his decision). I totally respect that and I appreciate it that he let me know now. Coaching is a grind and he wasn't (convinced) that he wanted to coach another year, and I thanked him and told him I appreciate it and I'll see him on the golf course in a couple months.

"We both respect each other really well. We've always been friends and we'll always continue to be friends. He was contemplating this for a few weeks. It was tough on him, stressful, and I know right now he's very comfortable with his decision and probably relieved that it's over for him. So I'm happy that he came to this decision for himself and he's comfortable with it and ready to move on. I wish him the best."

Sakic spoke with Roy before Roy released a statement saying he didn't think he had enough input in player personnel decisions, but Sakic said he was always involved.

"I have thought long and hard over the course of the summer about how I might improve this team to give it the depth it needs to bring it to a higher level," Roy said. "To achieve this, the vision of the coach and VP-hockey operations needs to be perfectly aligned with that of the organization. He must also have a say in the decisions that impact the team's performance. These conditions are not currently met. Though it saddens me, I have put much thought about this decision in recent weeks and have come to be fully comfortable with it."

Video: Patrick Roy resigns in Colorado

Sakic read the statement and said he and Roy were in agreement with the direction of the Avalanche.

"He was consulted on everything," Sakic said. "Obviously early on when I was getting comfortable in my role, I relied on him more. Now as we built up our staff, especially in season, we allowed Patrick to focus more on coaching. In the offseason we started working on free agents together.

"We never had an issue. We were friends as players, we're friends now. He was always involved, especially early he was a big help to me. He was always involved. He was aware of all the decisions we were making. To be honest with you, I think that's a question that you have to ask Patrick.

"I know we were on the same page. I saw his statement and I don't think anything more than it was a statement. I know how we feel, I talked to him, and moving forward we're still on the same page."

Sakic said he plans to meet with his staff starting Friday to put together a list of coaching candidates and that they would look outside the organization.

"We obviously would like to have it done before training camp," he said. "We want to interview quite a few people and see who we all feel comfortable with."

Video: E.J. Hradek looks at Patrick Roy's decision to resign

Sakic said he is happy with assistant coaches Tim Army, Dave Farrish, Francois Allaire and new hire Nolan Pratt, who was an assistant last season with Calder Cup champion Lake Erie of the American Hockey League.

Roy went 130-92-24 in three seasons with Colorado. He was hired May 23, 2013, and in 2013-14 won the Central Division title with an Avalanche record-tying 112 points and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year. But Colorado has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons.

Last season, the Avalanche went 39-39-4 and finished five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. They lost eight of their final nine games, the last six in a row.

"The big thing when he talked to me today was last year was a tough year, he didn't have a lot of fun, and we always said as long as we're enjoying what we were doing and having fun we'll keep doing it," Sakic said. "He said the last three or four weeks he was just really contemplating not coming back and not coaching and he made the right decision for himself. I totally respect him for that.

"He didn't have a lot of fun last year. He came to this decision on his own. There's nothing but the utmost respect for somebody who comes to that decision. We're all good."

The Avalanche didn't make a big splash in free agency July 1, focusing instead on signing restricted free agent forward Nathan MacKinnon (seven years, $44.1 million) and defenseman Tyson Barrie (four years, $22.5 million).

Colorado is about $1 million under the NHL's $73 million salary cap for this season.

"We made the decision not to go big in free agency, to focus on signing Nathan and Tyson, and making sure we had room and weren't caught in a bad situation, and you see where we are [with] the cap," Sakic said. "That was the reason why we didn't do anything big. We always talked. Like I said, he was aware of everything."

Sakic hired Roy two weeks after he became executive vice president and GM. They were teammates when the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001.

Prior to joining the Avalanche, Roy was coach and general manager of Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He has owned the team since 1997.

Roy spent eight of his 19 NHL seasons as a goaltender with Colorado. His 478 games played, 262 wins and 37 shutouts are the most by an Avalanche goalie.

Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round (No. 51) of the 1984 NHL Draft, Roy won the Vezina Trophy three times (1989, 1990, 1992). He was traded to Colorado on Dec. 7, 1995.

Roy retired following the 2002-03 season, and his 551 wins and 1,029 games at the time were first among NHL goaltenders, since passed by Martin Brodeur (691 wins, 1,266 games played). Roy was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.

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