Connect with us

New York Islanders

Patrick Roy Remains The Main Attraction In Montreal



AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz

East Meadow, NY– Patrick Roy wants tonight to be just like any other road trip for the New York Islanders.

The fact of the matter is, though, that won’t be the case as the team plays the Canadiens in Montreal, where Roy spent the first 12 seasons of his Hall of Fame playing career.

“We just don’t want to have distractions,” Roy said. “I don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about the Islanders. We’re going there to win a hockey game. We’re not going there to win for the coach. It’s for our team.”

While playing for the Canadiens, Roy won three Vezina Trophies and two Stanley Cups and is the only goalie to lead the Habs to a championship since the NHL expanded to 21 teams in 1979. His 289 wins are third all-time in Canadiens history, behind only Carey Price and Jacques Plante.

However, in 1996, Roy’s relationship with the club soured, leading to him demanding a trade. Eventually, he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he won two more Cups.

Although Roy had a falling out with the Canadiens, he never did with their fans. When Montreal retired his No. 33 jersey in 2008, he was greeted with a standing ovation while he walked through the crowd as a god-like figure.

“Everybody knows him there,” said Islanders forward and Montreal native Julien Gauthier. “He was a really good hockey player for them. He’s a Hall of Famer. Everybody loves him. Hockey is our sport in Montreal, and he’s definitely up there in terms of who people know.”

Even players who didn’t grow up in Montreal understand Roy’s status there.

Before joining the Islanders, Alexander Romanov played two seasons with the Canadiens and was well aware of the impact Roy had on the franchise.

“Montreal and Patrick Roy, they’re one and the same,” Romanov said.

When the Islanders hired Roy last Saturday, hoards of media from Quebec descended on Long Island to cover their native son as he made his return to coaching in the NHL for the first time in seven years.

It’s expected there will be even more intrigue tonight as Roy returns to Montreal in only his third game as the head coach of the Islanders.

Meanwhile, he sees his first road trip as an opportunity to get more familiar with his new players.

“I just can’t wait to have time to sit down with them individually,” Roy said. “I want more time to bring in culture, bring my values and the DNA that I would love for us to do, and work with them.”

Roy has preached togetherness from the moment he joined the Islanders. Since then, the atmosphere around the team has made a 180-degree turn in a positive direction from what it was beforehand.

“He’s got a whole different game plan and a whole different mindset,” Matt Martin said. “It takes a whole lot of buy-in and everyone playing the right way. I think what Patrick, more than anything, has stressed is togetherness and everyone being on the same page.”

That will certainly remain the focus of the Islanders tonight at Bell Centre.

Regardless, Roy will still be the main attraction.




Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

NYI Team & Cap Info