Patrick Roy is coming home to Montreal on Tuesday night, the place where he became an NHL legend with the league’s most historic franchise.
As arguably the best goaltender of all time, Roy led the Canadiens to two Stanley Cup titles in 1985-86 and 1992-93 before departing from the club in controversial fashion in what became known as “Le Trade.”
Now he’s the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, a team he’s transformed from one of the worst in the Western Conference to second place in the league’s toughest division. Tuesday night’s game — which both teams need to strengthen their position in the playoff race — will be Roy’s first appearance at the Bell Centre since he took part in Montreal’s centennial game in Dec. 2009.
“I think it’s going to be great, I expect it to be great,” Roy told reporters Monday when asked what kind of reception he believes the fans will give him Tuesday night.
“They do such a great job here,” Roy added. “This organization has a lot of class. They put a lot of pride in the past and there’s a great past in this franchise. They’re taking care of it, and they certainly deserve a lot of credit for that.”
Much of the credit for Colorado’s remarkable turnaround should be given to Roy, who’s developed a real partnership with his players. He has their back and will fight for them, and that was evident in the season opener when the rookie bench boss banged against the glass separating the Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks.
“(My) days (as head coach) with the (Quebec) Ramparts really prepared me well and helped me,” said Roy, who has gone from a fiery player to a coach that is cool, calm and collected. “This is a group that needs positivity, and it’s easy for me to be positive with this group because they work so hard.”
Tuesday will be an emotional night for Roy, and even though his exit from Montreal in 1995 wasn’t ideal, he’s still one of the most popular former players among the fans. But despite the personal attention, Roy arrives at the Bell Centre with one goal — to help his Avalanche leave with two points.
“I don’t want to put myself ahead of the players, I want to stay at the same level as them. I’m trying just to focus on coming here and seeing our players play a great game.
“It’s not about me, it’s about them.”