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Avs players will go through wall for coach Roy

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Patrick Roy has been way more composed than combustible on the bench through the Colorado Avalanche's sizzling start to the season.

Then again, there hasn't been much that has gone wrong for the goalie-turned-coach who is well-known for his fiery personality.

Sure, there was that meltdown in his first game when he nearly crashed through a glass partition during an argument with Anaheim's Bruce Boudreau following a 6-1 win. Other than that, he's been fairly mild mannered.

Roy's players certainly don't view him as volatile so much as an invigorating presence that's ignited a much-needed spark. Behind Roy, the team is 6-0 and can match the best start in franchise history with a win over the Detroit Red Wings tonight.

"There's never panic with him," forward Matt Duchene explained. "We could be playing awful, be down a bunch of goals and he doesn't really panic that much. It's nice to have a guy like that behind you."

This is the nurturing side of Roy, instilling confidence through compliments. He actually gave the team a break from the ice Wednesday because he thought they were a little tired.

"He knows how to win and he's won before, so that jolt of energy has done a lot for us," defenceman Erik Johnson said. "We're confident in ourselves and trust Patrick and like playing for him. When you have a coach you're willing to go through a wall for, it makes a big difference. Everyone has that mentality playing for Patrick."

With a win tonight, the Hall of Fame goalie would break the mark for most NHL wins to start a coaching career. Roy shares the record with Mario Tremblay, who won his first six games with Montreal in 1995-96, a team Roy played for before being dealt to the Avalanche later that season after a falling out with Tremblay.

Toppling Tremblay's mark, especially against the Red Wings -- one of Roy's most-heated rivals as a player -- would mean a lot to the coach, even if he won't admit as much.

"That's not his focus. His focus is to get the two points," said rookie Nathan MacKinnon.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 17, 2013 D2

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