Patrick Roy was not the least bit impressed by the actions of his most dangerous offensive star Sunday night.
Thing is, Duchene’s team-high 57th point only made the score 4-1. It also arrived with under five minutes remaining in the Colorado Avalanche‘s third straight loss and fifth in their last six outings.
“The thing I have a hard time [with] is the reaction of Dutchy after he scores,” Roy told reporters post-game. “It’s a 4-0 goal. Big cheer. Are you kidding me? What is that? It’s not the reflect we want from our guys. Not at all.”
The 25-year-old Duchene was wearing a knee brace when he scored, and he said the smart things after the game.
“If you’re not in playoffs, [scoring 30 goals] doesn’t really mean as much as you want it to mean. No one remembers that. And no one cares,” Duchene said.
“Everyone cares about who is in the playoffs. That’s all I care about. Obviously it’s a nice milestone, but I’m not thinking about it at all right now. I’m just very disappointed about this loss tonight.”
With the Minnesota Wild also losing Sunday night to the lottery-bound Winnipeg Jets, Colorado missed another chance to gain ground. The Wild have 87 points and the Avalanche have 82 plus a game in hand, but Colorado has been fading from the race faster than John Kasich.
After winning the Jack Adams Trophy as a rookie bench boss in 2014, Roy’s Avs will miss the post-season for the second straight season, barring a miracle.
Save captain Gabriel Landeskog, he let his core have it. Roy said his team is troubled by a losing mind-set and needs more self belief.
“We have some good leadership, but not enough from our core. Our core hasn’t proved that they have the leadership to bring this team to another level. Eventually we have to admit it. I love these guys. I think Landy is pretty much alone in that. I think [Eric Johnson] is trying. We need more from these guys,” Roy said.
“Our core players are having a hard time carrying this team. That’s the bottom line.”
So, will there be changes?
One doesn’t need to think back far to recall the Duchene trade rumours that made the rounds in November. The speedy star is signed through 2018-19, but doesn’t hold trade protection. Neither do starting goalie Semyon Varlamov and veteran D-man Francois Beauchemin.
The declining Jarome Iginla has posted a career-worst minus-24 rating and will finish with his lowest point total in a non-lockout season since 1997-98. Iginla still has a year left on his deal and controls his own destiny with a full no-movement clause.
Colorado is not a cap team but was ready to part with previous core forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny in recent off-seasons when they were still in their 20s.
This summer, the Avs’ top priority will be re-signing restricted free agents Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie. But how patient will Roy be with his young core?
“I don’t have the answers right now,” said Landeskog, “but I know one thing: It’s not good enough and it’s embarrassing what happened out there tonight.”