The setting is 1985. The Montreal Canadiens have their farm team in my hometown, Sherbrooke, Quebec. They have a line-up of good young players, a blend of speed, skills and character. Coached by Pierre Creamer, the baby Canadiens sneaked into the playoffs through the back door with a 37-38-5 record… until the team called up a couple of junior aged players once their team was eliminated, to join for a Calder Cup run. In those ranks, there was a young prospect goaltender who had just finished his junior career with a 5.55 goals against average for the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL.
That young goaltender was Patrick Roy, in case such details slipped your mind. With the help of other junior aged player Stephane Richer, Roy was instrumental in the playoffs, stealing the job from young veteran Greg Moffett (who?) in leading the team to the AHL supremacy, bringing the Calder Cup to Sherbrooke. I know, I was a young man in the stands, cheering him on.
The following season, Roy defeated all odds and made the Canadiens’ team, along with other former Sherbrooke Calder Cup winners like Brian Skrudland, Mike Lalor and yes, Richer as well. We know the rest of the fairy tale story, as the Canadiens surprised the hockey world, led by none other than a young Saint-Patrick, to win four in a row after loosing the first game of the finals, against the Calgary Flames. My admiration for Roy was only starting…
Then on December 2nd, 1995, my world came to a halt after seeing my idol walk behind the Canadiens’ bench after being pulled, only to walk back and tell team President Ronald Corey that he had played his last game in my favourite team’s uniform. My heart was crushed. How can the great Roy, the face of this era’s franchise, my successor to the great Ken Dryden, let the heat of the moment take over and make him take the decision to abandon his teammates, his team, his fans and by the same token, myself… because of a rooster fight between him and his head coach? How has that become MY fault, as I ultimately was the one paying the price?
Some claim that Roy went back to talk to Corey the next day to say that he regretted having done what he did, having said what he said. But for the Canadiens’ organization, the damage was done and they couldn’t go back. Roy had his temper tantrum on national television, in front of millions of viewers, and there was no going back on that. He was the team’s best player, but he was NOT bigger than the Montreal Canadiens.
Hired as the team’s head coach and consultant to GM Joe Sakic, Roy had found another career in hockey, in the NHL, with the second team he’s only known. Avalanche fans loved him as much as I did way back when he was in Montreal. Then, when he found himself in a disagreement with his former teammate and boss, he waited until August, less than a month before training camp, to inform Sakic and the Avalanche that he was quitting his job with the team.
This left Sakic and the Avalanche in a huge bind, and rest assured that Roy knew it. Yet, the disagreement occurred well before then, during that summer’s NHL Draft. So why wait so long? Because Patrick does what Patrick wants and when things don’t go his way, Patrick pouts and seeks revenge. And I’m not going to go into his well documented domestic violence issues either, or his assault on Chicoutimi Sagueneens’ owner Pierre Cardinal…
Roy is a hot head. I’m done with him, and I have been for a long time. If you think for a second that he’s the man to take over from Marc Bergevin one day, you are definitely not thinking straight. The guy is a nut case and when things don’t go his way, he picks up his toys and leaves, not giving a crap about you and what you think. He has displayed over and over again that he has a “Me, Myself and I” attitude and there is a reason why he hasn’t found work in the NHL’s tight circle. To me, the guy who once was my idol is dead. He was replaced by this horrifying individual whom I wouldn’t want my kids to look up to… as he’s as far a good role model as it gets.
So long Patrick, the Saint has been removed from your name a long time ago. Go Habs Go!