Is There Still a Space in the Rafters for Number 33?

Did Patrick Roy tarnish his image in last week’s fiasco in Chicoutimi or simply entrench it? Patrick’s career in the NHL never saw him shy away from theatrics or a good fight. The former exemplified by his Statue of Liberty save against Detroit that ended up as a goal after the puck rolled down his arm and into the net, and the latter demonstrated by his toe-to-toe slugfests with Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood.

Not many Junior A backups end up making it to the NHL so let’s set aside for the moment what this means for Patrick’s son Jonathan.  .

If it hadn’t been Patrick as the coach and Patrick’s kid as the goalie, this incident would not have made the news outside Quebec. So the real story is what does this do to Patrick’s legacy?

Patrick was never one of my favorite goalies but for his entire career he was one of my favorite goalies to watch. Right from his first day in the league his confidence inspired his teammates who knew they could press at the other end of the rink knowing Patrick would bail them out when called upon. Yes, his confidence (it’s an over-simplification to say ‘arrogance’) got him in trouble from time to time. He shouldn’t have publically berated the Canadiens’ president Ron Corey for the perceived slight of being left to wither on the vine in an uncharacteristic romp. But it was that type of pride, passion and confidence that had him thanking his goal posts and winking at opposing players after a big save.

One ESPN writer suggests this incident has tarnished Patrick’s reputation to the point the Canadiens organization won’t honor him they way they have so many other former Habs greats. On one hand you could say it took the Canadiens 28 years to honor Ken Dryden so how could they ever bring themselves to officially recognize a player who walked out on them, let alone directed his son to goon it up. But my guess is that it will take far less than 28 years for the Habs and their fans to forget his son’s fight. Twenty years from now I think what Canadiens fans will remember most about Patrick Roy is that he delivered their last two Stanley Cups and their hopes for another banner rode out the door on the king’s coat tails.

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