Sports Hockey

McLeod looks forward to new coach 0

 Kevin Hirschfield, The Graphic

New York Ranger forward and Portage la Prairie product Arron Asham signs autographs while Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod looks on during Asham's Chance 2 Play Golf Tournament July 19. (Kevin Hirschfield/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY).

New York Ranger forward and Portage la Prairie product Arron Asham signs autographs while Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod looks on during Asham's Chance 2 Play Golf Tournament July 19. (Kevin Hirschfield/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY).

Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod plays hockey with passion, not afraid to mix it up and always willing to show some emotion.

His new head coach, Patrick Roy, not only had those characteristics when he played, but frequently shows emotion and passion behind the bench as well.

Talk about what could be an excellent player-coach relationship between the Binscarth product and the hall-of-fame goaltender.

"I hope he likes the way I play," said McLeod. "He was fiery when he played, and so am I, so hopefully he likes that and we'll see how it turns out."

McLeod was in Portage la Prairie Friday participating in Arron Asham's Chance 2 Play golf tournament and spoke about the changes his team has made this offseason.

Joining Roy is fellow hall-of-famer Joe Sakic, who was named executive vice-president of hockey operations for the Avalanche, taking on an expanded role and having the final say on all personnel decisions.

The moves came after the Avs finished 15th in the Western Conference and ended up getting the first overall draft pick. Sakic's first big move was selecting young stud Nathan MacKinnon first overall and with MacKinnon joining other young potential superstars in the making such as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O' Reilly, excitement is building in the Mile High City.

McLeod is just happy to be a part of it.

"It's looking like things are getting turned around in the right direction," he said. "Everybody's a year older, so hopefully we can make some noise this year. It's definitely all positive, so we'll see how things roll out."

McLeod says he has talked to Roy briefly over the phone a couple of times, and will speak with him more in-depth about his role closer to training camp and the start of the regular season in October.

The winger was no slouch himself last season, as he played in all 48 regular-season games for the Avs, notching eight goals and 12 points. Not bad for a fourth-line grinder.

In fact, McLeod was moved up to the second line late last season because of injuries, playing with O'Reilly and Landeskog, and proving that he's not too shabby in a top six spot either.

"I started getting a few goals, so that was nice," he said. "But at the end of the day, you want to get in the playoffs and we were far from it. Hopefully we can change that and get back up there."

The 29-year-old says he still feels young despite being a "veteran" Avalanche. He's the seventh-oldest player on the Avs and him and Paul Stastny are the only players left on the squad from McLeod's first year, 2007-08.

kevin.hirschfield@sunmedia.ca

twitter@pdghirsch 

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