When Patrick Roy surprisingly and suddenly resigned as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche two months before the start of the 2016-17 season, it wasn't the only job he was leaving; Roy was also VP of Hockey Operations for the Avs, a double-duty situation that you rarely see in the NHL, one that is extremely difficult to sustain. Islanders fans know this well; just ask about Mike Milbury.
In the statement accompanying his resignation, Roy wrote: "The vision of the coach and V-P of 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."
The manner in which Roy left Colorado is assumed to be the reason he only recently started to gain interest from NHL teams. He interviewed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Elliotte Friedman said there may have been 1 to 2 other teams with Roy on their radar when Lou Lamoriello called him to replace Lane Lambert.
NY Islanders head coach Patrick Roy has "zero interest" in management
Lamoriello is 81 years old; we can only speculate about his arrangement with ownership regarding his future as Islanders' President of Hockey Operations. With Roy now part of the organization, it's fair to ask whether the Isles' front office is something he could ascend to as part of Lamoriello's succession plan. After all, during Roy's most recent gig as head coach of the Memorial Cup champion Quebec Remparts last season, he also served as the junior team's General Manager.
However, Roy was quick to squash any insinuation that he's here to do anything but coach the New York Islanders while Lamoriello is running things. “Zero interest in management,” Roy said during Saturday's introductory conference call. “And that’s the first thing I told Lou. Even at the end of my days in Colorado, Joe was our GM, and he was making most of the decisions. Yeah, he would come downstairs and ask my opinion on things, but I had zero interest in management [with the Isles].
Roy went on to discuss what he learned from his Colorado experience and the realization that being a head coach at the NHL deserves someone's full attention. "When I took the job in Colorado, I think I was a bit of a dreamer and thinking that I could do both. I think have plenty on my plate. Just worry about my relationship with the players and the media, and try to use the media as a bridge between us and our fans."
Does this mean I would rule out Roy moving to the front office one day? No. If Lamoriello is to step aside at a point when Roy is still the head coach, then perhaps the Hall-of-Fame goaltender will have a decision to make as to where he wants to focus his time, energy, and expertise in the front office or behind the bench. Until then, expect a clear line between coach and General Manager, with Roy offering Lamoriello his thoughts and perspective when asked.