It’s hard to watch a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens on a Saturday night and not think about the infamous night where goaltender Patrick Roy played his final game with the Canadiens.
With Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin in the final year of his contract, speculation is running rampant on who his successor will be. While the list of potential candidates is a long one, the Hall of Fame goaltender’s name will be at the top of the list.
Following the nasty divorce between Montreal and Roy, the two sides have been able to make amends in recent years. Nobody will forget Saint Patrick throwing his hands in the air as fans at the Montreal Forum gave him the Bronx cheer on Dec. 2nd, 1995. Roy was the starter that night and pumped for 9 goals in an 11-1 loss to the Red Wings, the worst home loss in franchise history. The relationship between head coach Mario Tremblay and Roy was already fractured, so leaving him in nets with the Red Wings running up the score didn’t help an already bad situation. Seeing only red, with steam coming out of his ears, Roy made his way over to the then Team President Ronald Corey and said “It’s my last game in Montreal.” Four days later, he was traded to Colorado, won the Stanley Cup the same season and won another one in 2001. But of course, you all know that story.
Roy has since returned to Montreal for the Canadiens centennial celebration (in full gear and a Canadiens jersey), and recently did local commercials with Tremblay, finally putting their bad blood in the past. There’s also rumours of multiple meetings between owner Geoff Molson and the former goalie.
It would be fitting for things to come full circle for the Canadiens and Roy. But is it the right fit? For both Roy and the Canadiens?
He’s currently running the first place Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, holding both title of general manager and head coach. Roy has experience at the NHL level, both as president of hockey operations and head coach of the Colorado Avalanche.
There’s his fiery personality to take into consideration. The Montreal Canadiens are known to be a conservative organization, while Roy has an ego the size of Texas and is a loose cannon. It’s been well documented that there was a power struggle between Roy and Sakic in Colorado. It’s respectable that he cares about his own beliefs and convictions, but just taking your ball and going home isn’t the way to handle things. With that situation, it looked like history repeated itself.
Roy has proven that when given full control of hockey players at the junior level, he has great success. But what about his ego, dealing with the egos of professional players who command big salaries. Not to say he can’t do it, but the jury is still out.
The one thing that can’t be questioned, he’s a winner. And winning is something this organization hasn’t done since he was their goaltender.
If one of the greatest goalies in the history of the NHL returns home, it will be met with great fanfare. It will also be a circus, but it’s always fun when the circus comes to town…