Patrick Roy has returned to Denver as the head coach of his former team and in his first day of training camp emphasized the role of defense for the upcoming season. “Right now, the plan is to work on our D-zone coverage,” Roy said as reported by the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater. “Last year, the D-zone coverage, especially with our second defenseman in front of the net, was not quite what we liked to see.”
At one point during drills he described the odd-man alignment of D-men in-front of the net as “useless.” Roy knows best. As a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Colorado Avalanche you have to trust the advice of the Hall of Fame netminder.
The defense of the Avs has been their weakest point as they have been terribly ineffective at defending their zone and have been caught plenty of standing around their own net as a puck slid past a blinded Semyon Varlamov, and Craig Anderson before him. Anderson has since gone on to be a top goalie for the Ottawa Senators. That says a lot as the former Avalanche goaltender was accused of being unable to prevent pucks from reaching the back of his net.
Maybe we should reevaluate that charge.
The defense around the net will be a major priority for change as the Avs get ready to begin another season of hockey where they must improve their defense if they hope to maintain a “Stanley Cup attitude” that Roy has promised would be the focus of the team as they rebuild and look to contend in a reorganized Western Conference where they now must compete against the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks for division titles.