On the one hand, he was a successful owner/GM/head coach of the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, endorsed by the likes of Scotty Bowman as a future NHL bench boss.
On the other hand, it smelled like a decision marinated in nostalgia and celebrity status: Saint Patrick, coming in as the savior of the franchise.
Roy has already said he'd listen if the Canadiens came calling for his services. But Martin Leclerc of Radio-Canada.ca and NHL.com reported, via the Globe & Mail, that a deal was done to have Roy take over as the team's next head coach. This jibes with Bruce Garrioch's report from earlier this month that Roy was a top candidate to succeed Randy Cunneyworth.
Not so fast, said the former Habs goaltending legend … buuuuut maybe.
From Sean Gordon of the Globe & Mail:
Here's our two cents worth on the subject: Roy ticks all the boxes for the Habs, he's a bilingual Francophone, he's an adored alumnus, he's a living link to the last Cup conquest, he's done good things in junior, with gusts to great. But he's also got maybe the shortest fuse in the history of coaching, and it's debatable that his tempest-in-a-suit-jacket act will translate well to the pros.
It would arguably make more sense to hand Roy the keys to the organization by making him vice-president of hockey operations or general-manager, a role he has thrived in for the Remparts - Roy evidently has a keen eye for talent and the ruthlessness required to bring it on board (and by the way, all this talk can't be seen as anything else than another signal the GM's job in Montreal is about to be vacated by Pierre Gauthier).
"I would like to see that contract I supposedly signed. I'm flattered, but it's making me laugh. I don't know what's happening. Molson never called me. When I hear that the information comes from a good source, it shows that journalists are ridiculous sometimes.
"At the end of the day, Molson is the one who is going to decide who will be his coach and his general manager. If he is satisfied with Pierre Gauthier's work, he's going to keep him and same thing with Randy Cunneyworth. Last time I spoke with Geoff Molson, it was at my jersey retirement at Bell Center (November 22nd, 2008) and I can assure you that I didn't sign any contract that night."
So Roy shot down the report, but did little to dissuade anyone from believing he's in the mix for a Canadiens job of some sort, be it the coach or GM spot. Your Montreal Canadiens would rather see him as a coach, and he certainly has the pedigree and language requirements for that role.
Montreal's problems run far deeper than who's behind the bench — or maybe "far higher" would be more appropriate, given the performance of the general manager. But Roy would be an interesting move both from a tactical perspective (better get some veteran helping hands behind that bench) and, undoubtedly, from a PR perspective, as a favorite son returns to the franchise to reverse its fortunes.
Bottom line: Patrick Roy taking a job with Montreal would still be a surreal moment, even after 17 years:
- Patrick Roy
- Montreal Canadiens
- Randy Cunneyworth