|ESPN.com: NHL Hall of Fame 2006||[Print without images]|
|Friends say Patrick Roy revels in his new role as coach, studying every nuance of every position.|
|Patrick Roy won his first Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986.|
|Another Cup for Patrick Roy, right, with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.|
Not everyone, of course, is a charter member of the Roy fan club. The man who made headlines early in his career when he appeared to engage in chats with his goalposts made headlines during the past spring's Memorial Cup tournament when he critiqued opposing teams' goalies. The tactic, clearly an effort to get in the other teams' collective kitchens, worked and prompted Moncton coach Ted Nolan, now the bench boss on Long Island, to label the comments as "tasteless and classless." After the Drummondville game, Boucher made repeated bowing motions across the ice toward Roy as if in mock praise. Asked later if he thought Roy received favorable calls because of who he is, Boucher said that everyone in the QMJHL feels the same way. "But I didn't say anything," he said with a wry grin. In the coming days, Roy will reluctantly take time away from his Remparts to travel to Toronto, where he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He will be reminded again and again of his heroics as a rookie in 1986, leading the Habs to a surprise Stanley Cup. And of his mind-boggling 10 straight overtime wins en route to a mystical Cup win in 1993, the last for the Habs. And of his single-mindedness in leading the Avs to a Cup win, his final, in 2001. It will be a time to relive moments that are indelibly etched in the minds of hockey fans around the world. These are the kinds of journeys through the past that Roy rarely makes himself, journeys he admits he perhaps should have embraced more readily. "I've never been a guy like that. After the year is over, it's over, and we're moving on to the next year. And when this year's over, we're moving on to the next. I think that really helped me to be consistent. It really helped not scaring me, I guess, at the same time," Roy said. "If you try to match your best years, it's hard coming back the following year and wanting to win No. 40 before winning No. 1. It was so much easier for me to focus on one game at a time and focusing to do my best and win this game and to do whatever I had to do to win that hockey game." If this focus allowed Roy to ascend to the very pinnacle of the game, it has also allowed him to walk away from the game unfettered by remorse or regret. A year ago, Hartley asked Roy if he wanted to come out of retirement and join Hartley's Thrashers. Roy laughed when remembering the conversation. "No. I was done. I did what I had to do. I pushed my limits and I think I'm proud of pushing it as far as I could go and it certainly helps me to have no regrets. I'm not on the bus, saying, 'Oh, I could be on the plane from Colorado to Detroit,'" Roy said. "There's not too many times I can say watching a game or behind the bench at a game I said, 'Oh, I wish I could be on the ice.' To be honest with you, it rarely happened. It happened maybe once or twice but not more than that." Given what we know of Roy the competitor, the assumption is that this is merely a stepping-stone to a return to the NHL as either a coach or a GM. Things are not so simple from Roy's perspective. "It's tough. One of the reasons I'm not looking to go to the NHL level is that junior is such a perfect fit in my life," he said. "You know you go and play in Shawinigan and you don't need to leave the day before. You're leaving at 4 o'clock on game day, you're coming back the same night and you're in your bed. You're spending so much more time than what you're doing at the NHL level. And if I want to play golf Thursday afternoon after practice, I don't feel bad doing it. At the NHL level, maybe you need to work differently and you're judged because, 'Ah, we saw the coach at the golf course.' At least I could go at my pace and do it the way I like it." But surely there will come a point when the need to challenge himself at yet another level, to see if he can do it, will supersede creature comforts, right? "That's a good question. I will do the junior until I don't enjoy myself," Roy said. "And I won't look to upgrade until I don't enjoy myself, until I need a different challenge. To be honest with you, as we speak today, it's not in my future to go into the NHL level. It's to enjoy what I'm doing and doing this for about 10 years, if I can, and then maybe after that, then maybe, just relax and enjoy life." Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.