Winning in Style
It's not just that Patrick Roy has a record number of wins, it's
how he won 'em
There are no small stories about Patrick Roy. From the way he won
his three Stanley Cups (as the postseason MVP in 1986; after an
unprecedented 10 straight overtime wins in the '93 playoffs; and
following a blockbuster trade, in '96) to the way he bolted
Montreal (he went to Canadiens president Ron Corey during a game
and demanded to be traded), from his sporting companions (he
golfs with Fred Couples and has hit with Monica Seles on Roy's
tennis court) to the goalie sweaters he wears (which are so
oversized, they look as if they come from a Big and Tall Man's
Shop), Roy, the Avalanche's goalie, has signed his name in
capital letters. When he beat the Blue Jackets 3-1 last Saturday
to tie Terry Sawchuk's record of 447 regular-season wins, Roy
stood at hockey's summit.
There have been endless comparisons made between Roy and Sawchuk,
who starred with the Red Wings in the 1950s and '60s: Sawchuk had
more than twice as many shutouts (103) as Roy (48), but Roy's 447
victories came in 125 fewer games; Sawchuk couldn't feast on
expansion teams for most of his career, but Roy has faced harder
shooters. These are futile, bar-stool arguments.
A more appropriate comparison for Roy is with Sawchuk's
contemporary, Canadiens stalwart Jacques Plante, who ranks third
with 434 wins, was the first goalie to use a mask and was the
first to leave the crease to play the puck. Roy, like Plante, is
an innovator. Roy didn't pioneer the butterfly style (Glenn Hall,
who played 10 seasons with the Blackhawks, is widely considered
to have been the first to use it, in the 1950s and '60s), but Roy
popularized it, sealing off the bottom of the net. There were
doubters about Roy's dropping to his knees like a supplicant at
high Mass, including the Canadiens' management, but St. Patrick's
early success, coupled with his steadfastness, legitimized the
butterfly. "Patrick influenced his position," Flames general
manager Craig Button says, "the way Bobby Orr influenced
"Unlike any goalie before him, Patrick made himself the focal
point," says Brian Hayward, one of Roy's backups in Montreal and
now a television analyst for the Mighty Ducks. "Plante handled
the puck and Hall butterflied, but Patrick went beyond them. He
handled the puck in the defensive zone whether or not his coaches
approved or his teammates understood. He took charge. Being
Patrick Roy meant not just stopping the puck but also saying
outrageous things. He wanted the spotlight, and, more important,
he wanted the responsibility."
Responsibility came in the playoffs. The delicious irony is Roy's
being hailed for a regular-season record when his brilliance is
most obvious in the spring. He captured the NHL's imagination
with 13 saves in overtime in Game 3 of the 1986 semifinals
against the Rangers, but he impressed his Montreal teammates as
much by coming off the ice whistling after a loss in Game 4 of
that series. "I wanted to show them I'd be back for the next
game," Roy says.
He stunned hockey with those 10 overtime wins in 1993, but he
cemented his legend earlier that spring in the pivotal fifth game
of a first-round series against the Nordiques when he pleaded
with the Canadiens' doctors to shoot him with painkillers so he
could play with a bruised shoulder; Montreal prevailed 5-4 in
that overtime game. He won a third Cup in '96, with the
Avalanche, in what he called an "act of revenge" after an
embarrassing incident in Montreal prompted his trade to Colorado.
The deal established the Avalanche as a perennial Cup contender
while destroying the Canadiens' dynasty.
On Dec. 2, 1995, Roy was in high dudgeon before facing the Red
Wings, because Montreal star Vincent Damphousse had arrived only
10 minutes before warmups. "When Vinnie came in, Mario [Tremblay,
the Canadiens' coach], who'd been acting all pissed off, patted
him on the shoulder," Roy says. "On my way to the bathroom I said
to Mario, 'If it had been [journeyman] Yves Sarault, would he be
playing tonight?'" That evening Detroit thumped Montreal, and
Tremblay let Roy stew for nine goals before yanking him late in
the second period, prompting the humiliated Roy to storm over to
Corey, who sat behind the bench at the Forum, and announce he was
finished with the Canadiens. "The only thing I regret is raising
my hands [in mock salute to fans, who had cheered him
sarcastically after a save]," Roy says. "They'd been great to me.
It showed a short memory on my part."
Being Patrick Roy means rarely having to say you're sorry.
Increased Penalty Calls
Whistling While They Work
After 21 penalties were assessed during the season-opening tie
between the Stars and the Avalanche, Dallas captain Derian
Hatcher griped, "Some of those penalties wouldn't have been
called in my son's Mite game."
It might be a mite soon to get excited, but the NHL's crackdown
on obstruction infractions is off to a good start. After 39
league games 33% more minor penalties had been called than at the
same point last season. Most dramatic, and most welcome, was the
increase in slashing calls, which had jumped more than 200%.
Slashing not only slows the game but also commonly causes injury.
The crackdown should force players to limit their fouls and give
offensive-minded players more room to move and score. In the
meantime the increase in power plays helped jack up the league's
goals-per-game average to 5.7, from 5.0 last year. In a 3-2 win
over the Mighty Ducks on Oct. 11, the Bruins scored three
power-play goals, the last after a slashing call on defenseman
Ruslan Salei in overtime. "If they're going to call that," said
Anaheim left wing Paul Kariya afterward, "I hope they call it all
year for both teams."
So do we. --Kostya Kennedy
For the latest scores and stats, plus more news and analysis from
Michael Farber and Kostya Kennedy, go to cnnsi.com/hockey.
WHOM WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE?
The 26-year-old Toronto native is a physical player who has nifty
skills and is coming off a 22-goal season. He's not playing
because of a contract dispute and says, "Maybe they [should]
The 26-year-old Toronto native was the NHL's top defensive
forward three years ago and is coming off a 20-goal season. He's
not playing because of a contract dispute and says, "It's time I
Peca is more consistent and wins games with defense, but
Carter's offensive upside makes him the one we'd trade for.