Patrick Roy Sweater to the Rafters

The jury is still out on what kind of reception Patrick Roy will get when, on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, he becomes the 15th Montreal Canadiens’ player, in franchise history, to have his jersey number retired and raised to the rafters.

Roy, who is ranked number one all-time in NHL wins, with 551, was also known for being clutch — come play-off time — as he led Montreal to the Stanley Cup in 1986 and — once again — in 1993.

Two years later, in the height of his popularity, this Hockey Hall Of Famer, engineered a controversial act, that today still has people talking. Playing at home, against the Detroit Red Wings on December 2, 1995, Roy stormed off the ice in a huff, after allowing nine goals. He told Canadiens’ president, Ronald Corey, who was sitting behind the bench, that he had played his final game for Montreal .

Even though, in his prime, Roy thrilled the Montreal fans by winning such awards as the William M. Jennings Trophy and the Vezina Trophy, on multiple occasions; fans seem to remember that one particular Saturday night game — when talk turns to Roy’s career in Montreal .

“We’re finally going to put away that December 2, 1995 game — and that’s something,” said Roy, who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, days after demanding a trade. “That’s one game! When you get to the NHL — they say to you — one game does not make a career. It’s like that — one game — pretty much made my career in Montreal; but I feel that’s not the case. I had so many good years and we had so many good teams.”

At the time of his meltdown, Roy wasn’t getting along with the Canadiens’ rookie coach, Mario Tremblay, who took over, only five games into that season.

After a decade in Montreal , Roy left for Colorado, where he helped them win the first Stanley Cup in their franchise history — and another one in 2001.

Overall, Roy insists that his time in Montreal was full of good times — that he wouldn’t trade for the world.

“I played for great coaches and for great teammates,” said Roy, who now is involved as the part owner and head coach of the Quebec Remparts, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “The good thing about what’s going to happen (on Saturday night) is that we’re going to talk more about those years — like ’86, or ’89 or ’93. We had some great runs in Montreal .”

Contrary to rumors, over the past several years, that Roy has still lingering resentment towards the Canadiens organization, he insists that isn’t the case; and that he is looking forward to the honor of having his jersey retired.

“You have no control on whether your jersey will be retired, but I certainly hoped it would happen one day,” he said.

Roy, who also ranks first — all time– in play-off wins, with 151 and shutouts at 23, said that not everything went perfect in his career.

“You always have some regrets,” he said. “Nobody’s perfect.”


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