Jack Todd: Now is not the time to bring Roy back into the Canadiens fold

In any situation where he has anything less than absolute power, Roy’s tenure with the Habs is very likely to end with a mushroom cloud over the Bell Center.

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When Jeff Gorton took the podium on Friday for his first session with the ravenous Montreal media, it was 26 years and a day after one of the pivotal events in the great and glorious history of CH:


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The day Patrick Roy walked away from the Canadiens.

You know the story. How Roy, facing the Detroit Red Wings in the Forum, gave up five goals on 17 shots in the first period. How smug head coach Mario Tremblay (looking to humiliate his superstar in the latest chapter of their personal feud) left Roy until he gave up nine goals before replacing him with Pat Jablonski. How Roy got off the ice and marched directly to team president Ronald Corey behind the Canadiens bench to declare that he had played his last game for Montreal. Four days later, on a tragic anniversary of a very different kind, Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.

If there was a moment that marked the definitive end of the Canadian dynasty, it was that. Since then, apparently, we have been waiting for the return of Roy the Savior, and it seems that we are still waiting.


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Geoff Molson showed some courage by hiring Gorton, and Molson explained his case well, mostly in French. But because Gorton is both unilingual and Anglo (despite a bold statement in French to start his term), he faces a minefield. The first mine is named Patrick Roy, a fact of which Gorton seems well aware.

When asked about Roy on his presser foot, Gorton replied, “I’ve heard of him, yes.”

Gorton will need that sense of humor, because he will keep hearing about Roy. The former superstar made sure of that with a bit of an indecent public campaign for GM’s job.

“Since 1993, the team has been running in circles,” Roy said. “What do they have to lose by giving me a chance and seeing what I can do with this club?”

The short answer is: they have everything to lose. Roy is Roy. He is the best money keeper who has ever played. He is also incandescent, fickle, irascible, arrogant, abrasive, impatient, impetuous, and impossible.


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I have nothing but respect and affection for Roy. He is witty and often brilliant. It offers something beyond the usual platitudes. Once this team is ready to compete, I would consider Roy for the coaching position. His fiery temper and ability to think outside the box could turn him into an underperforming contender, but this is not the time.

Gorton said he would seek “someone who has a different vision, a different experience.” Roy might fit that bill, but the shrill voices supporting him have pushed Gorton into a corner where he can’t hire Roy without leaving the impression that he’s under pressure. That would be fatal in this market.

TVA reporter Anthony Martineau provided a good example of what Gorton is facing when he said on Twitter: “I want to see Patrick Roy as the next CH general manager. … If Roy is not named, please change the name of the position to ‘Francophone spokesperson’. “(I would love to hear the reaction of Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur, Mathieu Darche, Martin Madden and Vincent Damphousse, among others, to the news that they are considered little better than the skinny).


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Fortunately, there were more thoughtful shots. In a column for Radio-Canada, veteran journalist Martin Leclerc described in detail the careers of current Arizona Coyotes head coach André Tourigny (Roy’s former assistant in Colorado) and Laval’s former coach Joel Bouchard as examples of available talent.

Leclerc noted that both Tourigny and Bouchard had spectacular success below NHL level, while Roy during his 11-year tenure as general manager of the well-funded Remparts had only one appearance in the QMJHL finals, that in 2006.

The last time he was seen at the NHL level, Roy was walking away from an excellent job in Colorado, where he held the titles of head coach and vice president of hockey operations with his former teammate Joe Sakic. Even that was not enough.


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On that occasion Roy announced his resignation in a press release. Less dramatic than coming off the ice, perhaps, but an indication that in the more than two decades since his breakup with the Canadiens, Roy hadn’t changed in any fundamental way. If Roy’s departure from the Canadiens was Mario Tremblay’s fault, the break with Avalanche was entirely his.

It was a strong indication that in any situation where he has anything less than absolute power, Roy’s tenure with the Habs is very likely to end with a mushroom cloud rising over the Bell Center.

Patrick Roy is larger than life, a legend, an idol who earned the nickname “St. Patrick ”of the hockey faithful in Quebec. But in this situation, he is the headache that Jeff Gorton doesn’t need.

Heroes : Mikael Kingsbury, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Jake Allen, Alexander Ovechkin, Steph Curry, Shuai Peng, Magnus Carlsen &&&& last but not least Jeff Gorton.

Zeros : The CFL, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Dominique Ducharme, Brad Marchand, Evander Kane, Aaron Rodgers, the IOC, Claude Brochu, David Samson &&&& last but not least Jeffrey Loria. Now and always.

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