Friday, March 28, 2008

The Two Faces Of Patrick Roy

Patrick Roy is the new convenient target for the anti-fighting interests in the NHL and there has been a colossal amount of newsprint dedicated to the now infamous scrap between the Remparts (who Roy coaches) and Chicoutimi in the Quebec juniors.

But the single best article has been written by legendary journalist Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette and I highly urge you to take a look and see a master at work.

Fisher captures the strange dichotomy of Roy's personality like no one else. I don't agree with Fisher that Roy is ineligible to get his jersey retired in Montreal but he makes some good points.

"Roy was a man of many faces throughout his brilliant career. Pleasant one minute, a mean, arrogant and unforgiving SOB the next. The Patrick Roy who came to play and to win every night could be abrasive, controlling and vindictive, but that does not diminish his accomplishments. His NHL-high 551 wins speak for him, as does his four Stanley Cups (two with the Canadiens and two with Colorado), three Conn Smythe trophies and three Vezinas. ...

Early in the 1998-99 season, a furious Roy smashed two television sets and a VCR in the visiting coaches' office in Anaheim. The reason: he was not credited with a victory because he was pulled by first-year coach Bob Hartley. Even though he did not face one shot, backup Craig Billington got the win because he was in net when the winning goal was scored. Roy lost it again when the Denver Post reported the incident and falsely accused Valeri Kamensky of leaking the story. That led to a lengthy meeting between Roy, Kamensky, the player's agent and reporter Adrian Dater, who wrote the story. "

Then Fisher goes on to talk about Roy doing something really great for a sick young boy and even Fisher doesn't pretend to understand the split-persona that he's writing about.
Getting off Roy for a moment - About six years ago I was in the Ottawa bus terminal waiting in line for a Greyhound to Montreal. Suddenly I realized that Red Fisher was standing right in front of me, waiting for the same bus.

The first thing that popped into my head was, "Why the hell is Hall of Famer Red Fisher taking the bus?" and the second was that I should say something to him. I was going to Concordia University at the time for journalism and he was one of my biggest idols.

But I decided not to bother him. The weird thing is that Fisher looked incredibly vital for his age, despite being short and wearing the craziest pair of coke bottle glasses left on the planet earth. On television he looks like a mix between Woody Allen and Spencer Tracy but in real life he looked like he could break my neck if he wanted to.

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