DENVER — Patrick Roy's Hall of Fame goaltending career was built on athleticism and unceasing passion. He appears to have carried that fire over to his coaching career, which began Wednesday with a 6-1 rout of the Ducks and a confrontation with Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau at the glass that separated their benches at the Pepsi Center following the season-opening game for both teams.
Roy claimed he was angry over a hit Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy had leveled against Nathan MacKinnon, the skillful forward the Avalanche chose first overall in June's entry draft. MacKinnon, 18, had two clever assists on Jamie McGinn goals in his NHL debut. "I don't think this league needs that type of cheap shot," Roy said.
Boudreau contended that Lovejoy had merely tripped MacKinnon and the real problem was that Roy had yelled at Ducks players throughout the game. "Bush league," Boudreau said.
BOX SCORE: Colorado 6, Ducks 1
Boudreau and his players also were incensed that Roy put out heavyweights Cody McLeod and Patrick Bordeleau for the final seconds.
"He put their big guys at the end. Probably to make a big show out of it. But not surprised," Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin said.
It bubbled over in a shouting match at the end, in which Roy pushed at and nearly knocked over the partition between the benches before relative sanity was restored. Roy received a game misconduct penalty.
"There was no need for it. They got the game won. Just pull your players off and show a little class," Boudreau said.
"He's going to be in for a long year if he's going to yell at every player and yell at the refs every stoppage in play. It's just not the way the game is played."
Then again, the way the Ducks' defense performed Wednesday isn't the way the game should be played, either.
Beauchemin's intercepted pass led to a successful breakaway by Ryan O'Reilly at 15:39 of the first period, but the Ducks weren't out of it until Colorado scored three in the middle period against a near-helpless Viktor Fasth.
The Ducks took 36 shots at Semyon Varlamov but were frustrated until Jakob Silfverberg got one past Varlamov at 19:53 of the third period. Corey Perry had one shot on goal; the same was true for Ryan Getzlaf, who was dismissed with a five-minute fighting penalty after a scrap with Steve Downie that Getzlaf said was in defense of a roughed-up Lovejoy.
"We didn't compete the way we wanted to. We stopped moving our feet a little bit," Getzlaf said. "When you've got a skating team like that and kind of stand still a little bit they catch you flat-footed. That's something that we're going to have to look at, and look at moving the puck a little bit quicker out of our zone and getting going."
The Ducks' defense figured to be thin early in the season while Sheldon Souray recovers from wrist surgery and Luca Sbisa recovers from an ankle injury, but this was close to utter disarray.
"A lot of breakdowns in the D zone," Beauchemin said. "A lot of odd-man rushes that shouldn't happen and second chances, rebounds and stuff. Those pucks, we've got to get."
The Avalanche converted two of five power plays, while the Ducks were 0 for 2.
Boudreau made a healthy scratch of left wing Dustin Penner, whom the Ducks had signed in hopes he'd rediscover his scoring touch alongside Getzlaf and Perry, his linemates on the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup championship team. Boudreau said the Ducks are "counting on Dustin to be a big part of this club" but felt they had to reward players like Patrick Maroon for having a better training camp.
In the end, it didn't matter that Penner didn't play. The problem was that the players they did have in the lineup didn't come to play.
"We didn't have the pushback that you'd like to have," Boudreau said. "You want them to score a goal and you to be so mad and you go in there and dominate the next five minutes, and we were in a 'Woe is me' type thing. Those are things that you can't do."