Patrick Roy can empathize with the Anaheim Ducks' new motto, "Unfinished Business."
The last time the Hall of Fame goaltender took the ice in the NHL, his Colorado Avalanche were bounced out of the 2003 playoffs in the first round after a 105-point campaign.
Now entering his first season as Colorado's coach, he's looking to get the franchise headed back toward elite status beginning with Wednesday night's season opener against the visiting Ducks, who are coming off a short postseason run despite capturing their first division title since winning the 2007 Stanley Cup.
Roy helped the Avalanche win the 2001 Cup and guided them to their ninth consecutive division title before retiring following the team's seven-game playoff loss to Minnesota in his final season.
Those glory years are far behind Colorado (16-25-7), which missed the postseason for the third straight year after finishing at the bottom of the Western Conference in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Roy, along with vice president of hockey operations and former Avs captain Joe Sakic, is tasked with helping turn a young core and a mix of veterans into a postseason contender.
"Those guys were stars (and) are now dedicating themselves to getting the team back to where it was when they were playing,'' said forward Alex Tanguay, who played with Roy and Sakic on Colorado's last championship team. "You look at their resumes, when they're going to tell you something, we know that they've been around. The message is going to be something that they lived. This is a new beginning for this team.''
Anaheim (30-12-6) also is looking to start anew after it finished second to Chicago in the West in the regular season before bowing out of the playoffs in seven games to seventh-seeded Detroit.
The Ducks have won a single playoff series since capturing their last Cup in '07, and captain Ryan Getzlaf is hoping the club remembers the disappointment it felt after the latest playoff defeat.
Players have been wearing shirts bearing the team's new motto as a reminder.
"We better have some frustration from last year," said Getzlaf, who along with former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry signed an eight-year extension last season. "That's part of building a winning organization. When you lose in a Game 7 situation like that it's got to weigh on you going into the start of the year."
The Ducks brought back Dustin Penner, who played on a line with Getzlaf and Perry in 2007, on a one-year, $2 million deal in hopes they'll rekindle their previous success.
"What's important to me at this stage of my career is just winning,'' Penner said. "I want to be one of those guys that can be dependable and accountable for the coaching staff."
Penner will replace Bobby Ryan, who was traded along with his $10.2 million salary cap hit to Ottawa for young forward Jakob Silfverberg. Ryan scored at least 31 goals in the last four full seasons, but coach Bruce Boudreau is expecting scoring punch to come from the likes of Getzlaf, Perry and 43-year-old Teemu Selanne, who is back for his final season.
"Our whole motto this year is unfinished business," Boudreau said. "We did a lot of great things, but our plan from the start of the season to the end was to go further than that, so it's a goal we're going to strive for.''
Colorado is taking steps toward having those expectations again. It returns co-leading scorers Matt Duchene (17 goals, 26 assists) and P.A. Parenteau (18 goals, 25 assists), as well as 21-year-old captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Roy is expecting No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon to provide some offense as well. The 18-year-old will start on a line with Parenteau and Jamie McGinn.
"We don't want Nathan to come here to be our savior,'' Roy said. "We want Nathan to be the (best) player he can be.''
It's unclear who each team will start in goal for the opener. Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth are expected to split time for the Ducks as they did last season. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who backstopped Anaheim to the 2007 title, and Semyon Varlamov each return for Colorado.
Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin is back after recovering from a torn ACL, but fellow defenseman Sheldon Souray likely will be out until January after having surgery on a torn ligament in his wrist.
Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson will begin the season on injured reserve with a knee injury.
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- Colorado Avalanche
- Anaheim Ducks
- Patrick Roy
- Ryan Getzlaf