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|Patrick Roy won two Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens (1986, 1993).|
"His two Stanley Cups with us is way, way more important. We turned the page a long time ago, but I guess the media never turns the page." Houle traded Roy away, a deal that set in motion an era of rare futility for the franchise, but now, as president of the Canadiens Alumni, he also gets to welcome the goalie back. From now on, Roy will be included in some team events and special nights, much like former stars Guy Lafleur, Yvan Cournoyer and others. Patrick is back home. "Yes, it's nice," Houle said. "Listen, personally there was never any animosity between Patrick and I. We have always been very cordial with each other. But it's part of the business of hockey. Howie Morenz was traded. 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion and Jacques Plante also played elsewhere, but we still retired their jerseys. That's the business. That we're honoring Patrick Roy in the end is absolutely deserved." Time does indeed heal, and the timing of this night couldn't be better, Roy said. "Especially now when you look at the people that are there, from [GM] Bob Gainey to [coach] Guy Carbonneau, people that I have tons of respect for. It's a good opportunity to move on," said Roy, who won Stanley Cup championships in 1986 and 1993 playing alongside both men. "Having them there, of course, is going to make it even more special for me." This is a vastly different organization Roy is coming back to -- different ownership, different management, different coaching staff. It's good to be back. "I'm happy to see the Canadiens having success. Seeing Carbo behind the bench with them. I couldn't ask for a better situation than having my jersey retired with Montreal playing good hockey." Roy, now the part-owner and coach of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Quebec Remparts, has tried to visualize what Saturday night will be like. "It should be a very emotional night," Roy said. "I'm sure it's going to be extremely special to see myself with the Montreal jersey on in front of the fans. It'll mean a lot to me." He's quick to add that it isn't his style to outwardly show emotion, so he's not sure what will happen on that front. No need guessing what the crowd reaction will be. The fans will show Roy their appreciation for his 10-plus seasons of clutch goaltending in a Habs uniform. "Expectation is something you have to deal with in Montreal," Roy said. "People expect to see the team do well year after year. But when you do, I can tell you they give it back to you in a great way; they appreciate it and they're very supportive. It's a great place to be, there's no doubt about it. Hockey is the big thing in Montreal. They love the game." And now, they can simply love Roy for what he means to the team's history. Time to move on from Dec. 2, 1995. Time to remember the baby-faced rookie who wouldn't let the New York Rangers score in overtime in the spring of 1986. Time to remember the cocky veteran who, in one wink, told the Los Angeles Kings he would not be beat in the 1993 Stanley Cup finals.
"I'm thinking of '86 and '93 and even '89, when we lost to Calgary. There were a lot of good moments," Roy said. "That's what I want people to remember."Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.