Patrick Roy Is No Jean Beliveau

Remember when Patrick Roy winked at LA player Tomas Sandstrom after making a nice stop on him? There was something about that that I didn’t like. Maybe it was because I wasn’t sure that Patrick had robbed him blind, and that it was sort of a lucky save that simply looked good. I leaned toward the lucky save. 

Then remember in 1995 when he let in nine goals against Detroit and because Habs coach Mario Tremblay didn’t yank him sooner, Roy went to Ronald Corey and told him it was the last game he’d play for Montreal? Remember? Of course you do.

How come he let in nine goals?   roy.jpg

So after this recent mess in Chicoutimi involving Roy and his son Jonathan, it rang in my ears the words TSN’s Bob McKenzie said the other day. He said Roy will someday coach in the NHL, and the natural choice would be the Montreal Canadiens. 

I say, “Please Lord, don’t let this happen.”

I don’t like Patrick Roy, but instead of me going on about it, I’ll just step aside and let Red Fisher, the man I’m waiting to retire so I can have his job, tell the story.  It’s called “Roy Lost the Honour of Having His No 33 Retired Long Ago”.  I think you’ll find it interesting. Take it away, Red.

Goaltender Patrick Roy gave the Montreal Canadiens many on-ice moments to cherish, but there were also a number of off-ice issues that people cannot forget or forgive.

Montreal — The 14 banners hang in the Bell Centre rafters carrying the names and retired numbers of legendary players who for so many years contributed so much to making the Montreal Canadiens a team with a mystique for winning.Great names. Great players. Great human beings.The game plan is to add one more next season when this one-of-a-kind franchise celebrates its centenary. The only name I have heard – Patrick Roy.Yeah, that Patrick Roy – the one who led the Canadiens to Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993.The Patrick Roy who coached the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup two years ago.

The Patrick Roy whose son, Jonathan, a backup goaltender with the team, was suspended by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for seven games on Tuesday after skating the length of the ice to administer an ugly, vicious beating on Chicoutimi goaltender Bobby Nadeau during last Saturday’s playoff game.

Roy the coach – and co-owner and general manager – denies the horror show took place at his urging. But he was suspended five games for “failing to control his players” and police have been asked to launch an investigation, which could lead to criminal charges.

If the Canadiens have decided to retire Roy’s number, they must re-visit the decision. Canadiens owner George N. Gillett Jr. and team president Pierre Boivin should know it is a bad decision – and has been from the start. What they must do is look long and hard and decide if retiring Roy’s No. 33 is good for the game and for the organization.

It is not.

Roy abdicated his rights to that honour with his capitulation to irrationalism on Dec. 2, 1995, when a stunned Forum crowd saw him allow nine goals on 26 shots in an 11-1 meltdown to the Detroit Red Wings. It was only then that he was taken out of the game by coach Mario Tremblay.

Anyone who was there or viewed the game on television can still see a furious Roy shouldering his way past Tremblay to Canadiens president Ronald Corey, sitting in the first row behind the players’ bench, leaning over and telling him he had played his last game with the team. That film clip has been shown over and over again following last Saturday’s hockey version of road rage – and for good reason. It was unprofessional and a gross disrespect for the sweater he wore.

Four days later, he was shipped to the Colorado Avalanche.

Roy was a man of many faces throughout his brilliant career. Pleasant one minute, a mean, arrogant and unforgiving SOB the next. The Patrick Roy who came to play and to win every night could be abrasive, controlling and vindictive, but that does not diminish his accomplishments. His NHL-high 551 wins speak for him, as does his four Stanley Cups (two with the Canadiens and two with Colorado), three Conn Smythe trophies and three Vezinas.

Can anyone forget the night in 1986, when Roy stopped the first 13 shots he faced in the overtime period of a Conference final game against the New York Rangers? There he was, a 20-year-old rookie, turning aside at least a half-dozen spectacular scoring opportunities by the Rangers – until Claude Lemieux scored the winner with the Canadiens’ first shot.

Fast forward to 1993. The Canadiens lost the first two games in Quebec, the first in overtime. They won the next four, two of them in overtime. More importantly, the Canadiens won eight more games en route to their last Stanley Cup to set playoff records for the most overtime wins in one season and the most consecutive overtime wins.

Those were on-ice moments to cherish, but there also have been off-ice issues that people cannot forget or forgive. Ugly moments. Controversial moments. Disgusting moments such as Saturday’s brawl during which Roy’s son continued punching a defenceless Nadeau after he had been wrestled to the ice.

In Colorado, Roy got into an altercation with a Colorado Springs man at a hotel where Avalanche players and their wives were having a team party. They began shoving each other over an interruption in the music at the in-house disco. The case was settled out of court.

Early in the 1998-99 season, a furious Roy smashed two television sets and a VCR in the visiting coaches’ office in Anaheim. The reason: he was not credited with a victory because he was pulled by first-year coach Bob Hartley. Even though he did not face one shot, backup Craig Billington got the win because he was in net when the winning goal was scored.

Roy lost it again when the Denver Post reported the incident and falsely accused Valeri Kamensky of leaking the story. That led to a lengthy meeting between Roy, Kamensky, the player’s agent and reporter Adrian Dater, who wrote the story.

The most publicized incident during Roy’s years in Colorado occurred during the 2000-01 season, when his wife called 911 after a domestic dispute. Dater reported at the time that Michele Roy told police her husband “ripped two doors off their hinges at their home” and that she was “afraid of what her husband might do when she dialed 911.” Roy was charged with misdemeanour criminal mischief, but a couple of days later his wife called the charges “ridiculous.” The case against Roy was dismissed. (The Roys are now divorced.)

And yet some of Roy’s best moments have come when his gentleness has moved people to tears.

Roy surely has forgotten it, but I still remember one morning after a Canadiens practice in Quebec City. There was a game to be played that night, but Roy remained on the ice waiting for a 10-year-old to join him.

The boy was born to pain, and lived with it bravely – he had this dream of going one-on-one with his idol, Roy. What could be greater than to score a goal on Patrick Roy?

So there they were at the Quebec Coliseum: Roy skating in little circles, sending up small shivers of ice pellets, rattling the blade of his stick on the ice before settling into a crouch in his crease, looking every inch like a guy in the moments before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. The boy’s mother looked on nervously watching her child who had not smiled or laughed nearly often enough in his young life.

“Okay … I’m ready,” Roy finally yelled at the boy. “Show me your best.”

It took a long time for the boy, skating on his matchstick legs, to close the 15 feet separating him from Roy’s crease. A wobbly shot, a desperate lunge from Roy and … a goal! Roy slammed his stick on the ice in mock anger.

“Try that again,” he muttered at the boy, who by now had a reason to smile. “I’ll bet you can’t do that again.”

Another wobbly shot. Another goal.

Ten minutes of goal after goal followed – and after each one the boy would raise his stick skyward, his face lighting up with smiles that eventually grew into a delighted laugh. His mother looked on from her Coliseum seat – and cried.

“That was a nice thing you did this morning,” I told Roy later that day. “It must have been hard.”

“It was easy,” said Roy.

5 thoughts on “Patrick Roy Is No Jean Beliveau”

  1. DK,

    Just after the turn of the last C there was a famous horse dubbed Clever Hans that could apparently count, tell time, dates and etc. It was later discovered that his trainer was `unconsciously’ cuing him. Also, I knew a girl who was absolutely brilliant when it came to knowing what questions would be on exams all the way through high school and university. In retrospect, what she was doing was `reading’ the unconscious/sx conscious cues of the teachers. She was, of course, an A+ student.
    My point is that we are a culture in collective denial about how we work in more ways than one and this illustrates one of them. To wit, communication is effected by a variety of means and even more info is transmitted via non-verbal means than by it. Cowards and bullies understand this quite well, especiallly the passive-aggressive types, and their strident protest that “I/we didn’t say anything” is so much bs. We are, like horses, very much `herd’ animals and like them we are finely attuned to all kinds of info and like them we act in unison and can be easily directed/manipulated. Which brings me to Patrick Roy: guilty as charged! Suspend them, yes. But whether or not he and his son (the Remparts?) should face criminal charges is, I think, just more bs simply because, while I find hockey brawls boring and not a very effective means to establish an `edge’ – although the Remparts beat Chicoutimi quite handily the next game, eh? I don’t condemn them and therefore I do participate, however vicariously, in the hockey `culture’ that condones them as well as retains the right to `police’ and `punish’ participants in them. Hey, who polices the police? the doctors? … hmmm…..

    Should Roy’s number be retired? I see no reason why we should. After all, he only won two cups – not enough – which seems to me to be the defining criterion. Individual accomplishment is secondary and only truly meaningful in the context of team success. So, for example, Mario Tremblay (whom, hehehe, I think is a moron – c’est sur c’est c’est sur) fails on the latter and passes on the former whereas for Roy it is the inverse. Neither, to me, deserve to have their #s retired. Yup, back to the old problem of (slipping?) standards, eh? As for the other, off-ice stuff, well, for me the value of le gros Bill was/is that hardly anybody else -certainly I include myself in this anonymous mass – approaches him in comportment and accomplishment both on and off the ice. Bobby Hull beat up his wife. Should he be in the hall of fame? Where to try the line, eh? Pete Rose is, for me, a benchmark in this respect. To me, he deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame because he did NOT bet on his own team – for me, that’s where the line is drawn.

  2. I lost all respect for Roy when he had is tantrum & even more so when he was offered a contract for $4.8 million per year & said it was an insult!!!
    I make a very good wage as an Elevator mechanic but it would take me 48 years to earn that insult.
    Our orginization as class & knows how to honour it`s greats,I`m sorry he does not warrant such an honour !!!
    By the way what channel are the Leafs playoff games on,oh thats right they did`nt make it HA HA!!!!
    GO HABS GO

  3. DK,

    Article on Bruce Boudreau on the NHL site. Check it out. Says quite firmly that getting to the playoffs is not the goal, it’s the cup! Amen.

  4. Patrick Roy does not deserve to be honored alongside such greats as Maurice “Rocket” Richard. They are class guys, Roy is not. You can’t take away the fact that Roy was instrumental in winning two Stanley Cups, but his repeated incidents of terrible behavior disqualify him from being honored by the Canadiens.

    Smashing TV sets after not officially being credited with a regular-season win and calling a $4.8 million contract an insult are merely shadowed by his latest antics. The disrespect and dishonor that he has brought to junior hockey is inexcusable. Inciting his son to beat an opposing goalie is Roy’s ultimate display of classless behavior. Where did his son learn that it’s OK to go after a passive opposing goalie and repeatedly punch him when he’s down on the ice AFTER he’s knocked senseless? Nice coaching, DAD!!!

    I don’t care if they are millionaires, Patrick and his son are nothing but lowlife hooligans.

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