Roy shows signs of his go-to persona

Derek Roy stood before his stall in the Sabres’ dressing room long after the game ended Sunday afternoon and talked about better days earlier in his career. He could go back to the earliest days of his career and find coaches who pointed toward him as a common denominator for success.

“I was a go-to guy in Kitchener when we won the Memorial Cup my last year,” Roy said. “I played in the world juniors. It was a great year. I played in Rochester and was the go-to guy right away. It was fun. … When we lost Danny [Briere] and [Chris] Drury, I had a good season. I just tried getting better and better.”

Check the record, and you’ll find accuracy in his account. Roy was a dominant player while climbing the ranks and a good one in the NHL. He had 20 points in eight games in Rochester before he was summoned to the Sabres for good in 2005-06, finishing the year with 15 points in 18 playoff games.

The Sabres a year later pointed toward his success with Thomas Vanek when they decided Briere and Drury, their top two centers while reaching the conference finals in consecutive years, were expendable. Roy’s response was 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games, a point total that left him ninth among NHL centers.

And when things turned sour, when he vanished in the 2009-10 playoffs against Boston, when the Sabres took off last year on an incredible second-half run and made the playoffs without him, when their scoring fell off and players looked stale this year — he was the guy people pointed toward as a common denominator for failure.

“It comes with the territory,” Roy said. “When you’re supposed to be scoring goals and you’re not scoring goals, it’s your fault. If you want to be that guy in the spotlight … that’s your job. It’s fun to be in that position when things go right, but it’s not fun to be in that position when you lose games. I like being the go-to guy.”