Patrick Roy's jersey ceremony? I, for one, wasn't all misty-eyed

November, 24, 2008
I have to tell you, I wasn't one to get all misty eyed over Patrick Roy's gala jersey retirement ceremony in Montreal.

Hey, it was a great night, and the Canadiens' staff does a great job with these type events. And, I know, Roy stands among the very best goaltenders ever to play the game. There is no question about that.

Still, I just wasn't all that excited about it. I was much more pumped for Ken Dryden and Bob Gainey's retirement nights last season. Those two players have always carried themselves well both on and off the ice.

I guess there are two reasons for my lack of interest in Roy's big night.

First, several equally deserving Canadiens greats had to wait longer to receive such an honor. Heck, some guys like Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion had to wait some 40 years! After leaving the Habs in such a controversial manner, I figured Roy might have had to wait a few more years. I wonder, if the club wasn't celebrating its centennial season, would it have been so (relatively) quick to raise Roy's No. 33 to the rafters?

Second, I have a hard time forgetting Roy's behavior during the 2006 Memorial Cup. In his role as coach of the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL), he decided to take a few verbal swipes at 20-year-old Moncton goalie Josh Tordjman in the press. Now, I would think that any young goalie would hold Roy in very high esteem. Thus, I just didn't think it was necessary for Roy to go down that road with someone who may never play a single game in the NHL. Was winning a junior championship that important? I thought it was a low-class move. A legend like Roy should have been above that. He wasn't.

I'm glad the passionate Canadiens fans had an opportunity to enjoy another special night at Bell Centre. And, like I said, Roy certainly deserves the honor. I just couldn't get too excited about it.

In the press box ...
... there were approximately 25 scouts in attendance at the Prudential Center for the Panthers-Devils game on Thursday night. As a former pro scout, I know the schedule sometimes dictates a large contingent of scouts at a particular game. Still, there seemed to be more than usual for a game that was a total snoozer.

I have to figure many of these birddogs were keeping an eye on Florida defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who will most likely be moved before the March 4 trade deadline. Bouwmeester can become a free agent on July 1 and he doesn't seem all that interested in signing a long-term deal to stay in South Florida. If they can't get him locked up, the Panthers would be foolish not to trade him.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?