Save by Roy: Patrick Roy and the Return of the Colorado Avalanche Paperback – Nov 5 2014
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Sportswriters Frei and Dater present a fast-paced, game-by-game account of the 2013-2014 NHL season of the Colorado Avalanche, which was also the first year of its coach Patrick Roy, 'the greatest goaltender in NHL history and instrumental in Avalanche Stanley Cup victories in 1996 and 2001.' As the team heads towards a surprising playoff appearance, the authors detail the 'remarkable thing' that was accomplished in the face of numerous skeptics: 'Roy took a team in disarray and put the pieces back in order.' This includes a frank assessment of Roy’s volatile temper and his successful effort to harness his old school energy to deal with players with vastly different temperaments, such as the 'quiet, reflective' Ryan O’Reilly, 'a yoga devotee often found stretching in corners of locker rooms or hallways.' Frei and Dater provide excellent sketches of almost every Avalanche player and each one’s relationship with Roy, which will delight Avalanche fans. But hockey fans in general will enjoy the moments when the break from the season’s narrative to tell stories from their individual 'notebooks,' such as Frei’s account of a late-season interview with Roy in which the once hyper-intense coach admits that he realizes he has no real control over how playoff pairings develop: 'I believe in destiny…. If it’s meant to happen, it will happen.' (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Award-winning journalist, author, and screenwriter Terry Frei is in his second stint at the Denver Post. He has been a sports columnist for the Portland Oregonian, a football writer for the Sporting News, and an ESPN.com hockey columnist. Among his seven previous books are March 1939, Third Down and a War to Go, ’77: Denver, the Broncos, and a Coming of Age, and Olympic Affair. His website is www.terryfrei.com. Adrian Dater is the author of several sports books, including Blood Feud: Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Denver Broncos. He lives in Thornton, Colorado.
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3 1/2 of 5 stars (good)
After a few poor seasons, the Colorado Avalanche, at one time one of the elite teams of the National Hockey League, decided to hire a rookie head coach who had no NHL coaching experience at the time. He was well-known to the franchise, having led them to Stanley Cup championships in 1996 and 2001. Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy became Colorado’s head coach for the 2013-14 season. That season is chronicled in this book, a collaborative effort between Terri Frei and Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, both of whom have covered hockey for the newspaper.
After a brief recap of Roy’s career and life after hockey, the book really gets going when the press conference announcing Colorado’s hiring of Roy causes some stirring around the league. How can someone who has never coached in the NHL lead a team that has struggled for the last four years? Very well, thank you as the Avalanche won their division in 2013-14 and while they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Minnesota Wild, the season was considered to be a success.
The book covers the season by recapping every game, some much more in depth than others. These recaps are not newspaper stories, but instead they will cover a new aspect or situation facing the team, an anecdote about the player who played the biggest role for the Avalanche in the game, or possibly a simple rehash of the results. In between these stories there were sections that had player biographies that read like the biographies one will read in team media guides. However, those were more complete in this book with much more information gleaned from the player being profiled. Those were enjoyable reads and strategically placed at various spots during the season’s recap.
There was also one more feature of the book that was interspersed in various spots in the book, and that was notes “from the notebook of” one of the two authors. These were alternated between the two writers and these features were my favorite part of the book. These pieces were informative, opinionated and entertaining. Whether the pages from a notebook were about the feud between Roy and St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, how Roy would use the media to his advantage or just commentary on the games, these sections were welcome breaks from the season discussion. Just like how players enjoy breaks in the schedule during a long season, I felt refreshed and ready to continue after reading these.
While the main topic of the book is the 2013-14 Avalanche season, this was also a good source of information to learn more about Roy and what makes him tick both during his playing days and as a coach. The style of the writing is what one would expect from two newspaper reporters, but the stories don’t read like a newspaper. Put together, they weave a good picture of the team and what the future holds for them. It is a book that any hockey fan will enjoy reading, especially Avalanche fans.
I wish to thank NetGalley for providing an advance review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
Very good. I felt some of the game summaries and stories started to run together when reading them one after another, but the breaks in them with either player biographies or the notebook chapters made reading the entire book fairly quick.
Do I recommend?
Avalanche fans will certainly enjoy this recap of this comeback season in which Roy was named the NHL Coach of the Year. All hockey fans would enjoy reading this in-depth book.
If the reader is looking for a game by game digest of the season and an archive of the Denver Post coverage of said season then this is the book for you. The information is put together well and the book flows in an easy to read format.