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Get this: Patrick Roy is calm, despite slow start by Avalanche

The voice is calm at the other end of the phone line. Almost Zen-like, in fact.

Sure, Patrick Roy isn't happy with his Colorado Avalanche beginning the season with only three wins in 14 games (3-6-5), but he's not losing his marbles, either.

The Avalanche's head coach and vice president of hockey operations said these are the growing pains of youthful players.

"They're young and they're learning," Roy told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "It's a learning experience. Whether you look at the Sedins [in Vancouver], or let's say [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry [in Anaheim], to be consistent every game, that didn't happen overnight. They need time. And that's why we're very patient with our players. We work with them, we help them, and we believe that they're going to come out of this together and they're going to work together. This is how we're going to find our way back to a playoff spot."

It was fair to expect a bit of regression from this club this season after the Avs stunned everyone by winning the Central Division last season, ahead of the likes of Chicago and St. Louis. In part, Colorado's poor advanced stats -- outshot nearly every night but still winning games -- suggested as much.

But three wins in 14 games to start the season? And only 2.36 goals per game? Where is the offensive juggernaut of a year ago, when Colorado was fourth in the NHL with 2.99 goals a game?

"Obviously, we're not producing offensively like we'd like to," Roy said. "Our players are not shooting the puck with the confidence that we had last year."

That lack of confidence, Roy said, showed itself Tuesday night when the Avs blew a 2-0 lead en route to a 5-2 loss to visiting Vancouver, the Canucks scoring four times in the third period.

"We're up 2-0, those are the type of nights last season where we would have made that a 3-0 game," Roy said. "We all know what a difference that makes. When they scored that goal four seconds left in the second period, it affected us. When a team isn't as confident, obviously it doesn't respond as well. And, hey, the Canucks played well."

The Maple Leafs visit Thursday night, Toronto coming off a 3-2 loss at Arizona on Tuesday night.

Roy wants to see improvements at both ends of the ice from his club.

"We want to make some adjustments in our D-zone coverage," said last season's Jack Adams Award winner. "We want to be a little bit better in our support. We also want to make sure we give up fewer shots on net. We're spending a little too much time in our end. And we're going to have to be better in our one-on-one battles. It's hard to generate good offense when you don't win your one-on-one battles, and you're going to give up more scoring chances against and shots on net at the same time. We have to win more one-on-one battles. We know that."

Colorado's defensive issues aren't surprising: they were there a year ago, too, but covered up by sparkling goaltending and a high-octane offense.

When the offense dries up like it has so far this season, it exposes that blue-line corps.

"If they don't improve their blue line, they have no chance of becoming an elite team in the Western Conference," one rival Western Conference team executive told ESPN.com via text message. "They may have to give consideration to moving one of their top forwards for a top-four D-man."

Right now, the only focus for the Avs is to get those top forwards scoring. It is truly surprising to see such a talented forward group struggle to score.

"I think the core of our team is conscious that they can do better," Roy said. "And they're working hard, they're working at it. It's a challenge in front of them."

The team held a meeting after Tuesday night's loss. Players only.

"I leave it to them, I think it's important for them to talk," said the coach.

Roy believes his team isn't far off, pointing to all the close games they've played (seven one-game losses plus lost leads).

And for sure, he has no intention to change their stripes. The Avs want to remain an entertaining, high-octane, offensive team. They won't betray their identity.

"No, our identity is fast-play, that's what we want," Roy said firmly. "We want to play offense, that's our trademark, that's what we want to do. Obviously, right now things are not going the way we want, but that doesn't mean we're going to change everything around. We also want to be a team that never gives up, a team that's even keel.

"These are the things that are important for our identity."