Hartley: Roy soaks up lessons like a peewee

Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy has made many headlines since his NHL coaching debut. (Jack Dempsey/AP)
October 30, 2013, 2:09 PM

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley isn’t at all surprised that Patrick Roy’s NHL coaching career has gotten off to such a hot start.

In May, Roy was named head coach of the Colorado Avalanche and his team has started the 2013-14 campaign with an excellent 10-1 record.

Hartley, who coached Roy from 1998 to 2002 when the two were with the Avalanche, pointed to Roy’s attention to detail as a major factor for what has made the former goalie a good coach.

“I would be explaining a drill [during practice] in Colorado, and he would be one knee down in front of the boards like basically any peewee kid in Canada and he was a Hall of Famer goalie. He was always a student of the game,” Hartley told Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday. “He would come in my office and ask me to explain [to] him the rationale of a 2-on-1 drill or a 3-on-2 drill, why I did this drill on a certain day. It was never to question [my decisions], but he wanted to learn.”

Bob Hartley talks Patrick Roy’s success as a coach, the Flames consistently putting out solid efforts, and the progression of Sean Monahan

Hartley explained he and Roy stayed in touch after the four-time Stanley Cup champion’s playing days ended in 2003 and that the two typically speak on the phone at least once every two weeks.

While Hartley was the head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers and Roy was bench boss of the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the two would even discuss game footage and go over different strategies over the phone.

“Patrick always wants to learn; Patrick always wants to challenge himself, playing or now coaching,” Hartley said. “There’s never enough information for Patrick, and I think that he took a very good, young team on the rise… and we’re seeing some very positive results.”

The Flames and Avs play each other three times this season, the first being in Colorado on Nov. 8; they also play in Calgary on Dec. 6 and once more in Colorado on Jan. 6.

Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Hartley’s Flames have a record of 5-4-2, a far better start to the season than most expected.

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