Programming note: Avalanche-Sharks coverage begins tonight at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – Colorado head coach Patrick Roy remembers Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic fondly.
Prior to joining the Avalanche, Roy was with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior league, first as vice president of hockey operations and later as head coach. On Monday morning, Roy relayed a story about the Sharks’ 26-year-old defenseman, who spent three seasons with the Remparts from 2003-04 to 2005-06.
“He was definitely one of my favorites when I was coaching junior,” Roy said. “Am I surprised where he is now? No.
“I remember his first year in Quebec, he was a 16-year-old, came to the camp, and we sent him back to midgets. After a week or so, we said we changed our mind, and he said ‘don’t worry, I’ll show you that I can play.’ By Christmas, he was playing every game.”
Roy’s Colorado club got off to the best start in the NHL, going 14-2-0 out of the gate. Since then, it has fallen back a bit, but the Avalanche look like they will be in the mix for a playoff spot after preseason prognostications were not too favorable.
Vlasic isn’t surprised that the young Avalanche club has taken to its new bench boss.
“He knows a lot about the game,” Vlasic said. “He’s won at every level, he’s very experienced, and the Colorado forwards and d-men are feeding off of his intelligence.”
“He’s a great guy behind the bench and outside the rink, as well. I’m very happy for him that it’s going well. He’s an intense guy, but he loves what he does.”
Vlasic, who has 14 points in 36 games while playing more than 20 minutes a night, is probably the Sharks’ best defenseman right now. He continues to improve his chances of making the Canadian Olympic team, and Roy isn’t surprised.
“You appreciate him when he’s on your team,” Roy said. “That’s the thing, when you see him play, you say ‘wow.’ He’s playing big minutes, he’s always in the right position – I hope tonight he won’t be – most of the time, he’s always in the right place.”