Patrick Roy expects positive reception in Montreal return

Patrick Roy was all smiles and positive vibrations as he prepared for his first game in Montreal as an NHL head coach.

Former Habs great back for 1st time as Avs coach

Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy leads a practice at the Bell Centre on Monday. (Patrick Roy/The Canadian Press)

Patrick Roy was all smiles and positive vibrations on Monday on his first visit to Montreal as an NHL head coach.

The Colorado Avalanche coach and former Montreal goaltending great left the Canadiens in controversy in 1996 but made up with the club when they retired his jersey in 2008. He was back again the following year for the team's 100th anniversary celebration.

He expects a warm reception from the fans when the Avalanche play the Canadiens on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

Roy recalled that a poll of Montreal fans overwhelmingly picked him to be both coach and general manager of the Canadiens when the team was making changes before the 2012-13 season.

"I think it's going to be great," he said. "Two years before, I was No. 1 for coach and GM. I could have had both jobs if it was voted by the fans.

"I truly appreciate that. It was a great gesture from them to put me on top and it make me feel good with the fans. It was nice to see that the past is way behind us and everybody's moved on."

A crowd of media turned out to the Av's practice at the Bell Centre, perhaps expecting the fiery former goaltender to say something controversial.

Instead, Roy was calm and cheerful. He spoke mainly about how coaching the junior Quebec Remparts after his retirement as a player helped prepare him to coach in the NHL.

Roy will be a candidate for the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year in his first NHL season for taking a young Avalanche squad to a 44-19-5 record so far.

He even included Mario Tremblay among a list of leaders he learned from while playing for the Canadiens in the 1980s and 1990s. It was Tremblay's decision when he coached the Canadiens to leave Roy on the ice during a drubbing by Detroit, which prompted the goaltender to ask for a trade.

After leading Montreal to Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993, Roy won two more Cups playing for Colorado.

Asked if he checked out the banner with his name on it up in the Bell Centre rafters, Roy jokingly said: "I forgot. See how focused I am on the game?

"Actually, I lied. I looked at it before, just to make sure it's still there. No dust on it."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.