Monday, December 1, 2008

......Patrick Roy!

The eve of November 22ND was a definitely a night that will go down in the history books. It was Saturday night at Le Bell Centre de Montreal, the crowd was stirring as they awaited Hall of Famer and hockey legend Patrick Roy. I'm sure the reaction in Montreal was a mixed one but inside the Bell Centre It was 21,000 empty seats as "St. Patrick" received a standing ovation which seemed to have lasted a lifetime!
Roy, who left the Habs on a cold night in 1995 for bigger and better things in Colorado had departed on a bit of a bad note and one that left a bitter taste in the mouths of some Habs fans. Lets backtrack to December 2nd 1995... Newly acquired Head Coach and complete douche bag Mario Tremblay leaves Patrick in for 9 goals on 26 shots before finally pulling him midway through the second period. Tremblay out to prove a point that will never be understood by many completely embarrasses the future Hall of Famer in disgusting fashion. A fuming Patrick who had been hung out to dry purposely by his "coach" was at his end with Tremblay's coaching tactics in Montreal. Roy passes Tremblay on the bench without flinching to look at him and walks directly up to Canadiens President Ronald Corey to inform him that he had played his final game for the club. By the time Patrick was ready to pack up and head out for Colorado on that tearful night in '95 he had racked up a Calder, 3 Vezna's, 4 Jennings, 2 Conn Smythes, and 2 Cups during his tenure with the Habs.
December 11th 1995... Roy wins his first game as the Colorado Avalanche's starting netminder, a 5-1 victory against the Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens. Roy never looked back!
The Avalanche, previously the Quebec Nordiques went on to the finals in '96 and swept the Florida Panthers in 4 games capturing Roy his third cup in 11 years. Roy went on to win his 4Th cup with the Av's in 2001 at which time he also recorded his 3rd Conn Smythe.
When Roy hung up the pads in May 2003 he left behind a legacy which included being possibly the greatest goaltender ever to play the game, a pioneer of the butterfly style, and held records in:

Most NHL games played by a goaltender (1029).
Most NHL regular season wins (551).
Most NHL playoff games played by a goaltender (247) (second most playoff games of all players).
Most NHL playoff wins by a goaltender (151).
Most Conn Smythe Trophy wins (3).
Most minutes played in the goaltender position in the NHL (75444).

Roy was also an 11 time all star and played for Canada in the '98 Olympics in Nagano where he posted 4 wins, 2 losses with a shut out and a 1.46 goals against average.

In 2006 Patrick Jacques Roy took his rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. His number 33 was retired to the rafters of Colorado's Pepsi Center in October of 2003 and now has found its way to the rafters of the Bell Centre along side greats: Richard, Gainey, Moore, Dryden, Robinson... A magical night indeed and a great honour for the best in the bizz to be retired as a part of the Habs 100Th year anniversary.

So here we are, its been 23 years since Patrick suited up for his first game with the Habs and 13 years since that emotional night when he packed up to head out west. Montreal has forgave... forgotten as has Patrick and it is the perfect end to a fairytale career for Roy! The Night was one I'll never forget. St. Patrick, definitely one of if not my favourite player of all time. Thanks Patrick! Peace Out Peeps...

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