Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's The Hurry In Raising Roy's #33?

Patrick Roy's latest escapades into new found realms of stupidity and arrogance have re - ignited a debate over whether or not his jersey deserves to be hung ceremoniously from the high heavens of the Bell Centre.

It had been assumed that the Canadiens are preparing to honour one more player next season, in the midst of celebrating the team's 100th anniversary, and that Roy was the favoured candidate for such an evening.

His latest shenanigans notwithstanding, Roy had excellent years with the Canadiens as the backbone of a pair of Stanley Cups, and has all the hockey career qualifications that make him worthy of consideration.

The problem with Roy in many eyes, is not who he was on the ice, but the person he is off the ice when he opens his mouth.

In short, Roy's actions, in the opinions of many, often overqualify him to be an asshole.

You can weight being one of the fiercest competitors the game has known against acts of beligerence and ignorance, you can measure the Stanley Cup rings in his ears against his lack of humility and general lack of self awareness, you can pile the records and achievements next to his selfishness and disrespectful nature.

In doing so, you would likely conclude that the career does shine brighter than the man, but you might be no further ahead in deciding whether or not he should be the next player honoured by the Habs with the retirement of his number.

Truthfully, the question of it has nagged me for quite some time, and I've never honestly been able to get off the fence.

I mean, I still love the goalie that he was and what he did for the team between 1986 and 1995, but I still can't stand that I feel he's an embarassment to the Canadiens when incidents such as what went on this past weekend occurs.

In seeing what he did with his son Jonathan in the midst of a not all that uncommon brawl in the Quebec junior league, purely gave me the sense that he had somehow nailed another spike into his own coffin of public opinion when it comes to enshrining #33.

On Monday, I read Boone's take on it, and agreed with several notions contained therein. The "retire 9-1-1 instead" quote was hilarious, if not terribly unfortunate and sad. Again yesterday morning, two of my own fellow bloggers, two of the best I might add, weighed in on the subject themselves.

Between Boone's harsh backhand of the whole idea, and J.T. and T.C. Deneault's "hockey achievements first" stance, I believe I have finally come a conclusion on where I sit with it.

And it is an uneasy barbed wire fence.

The crux of the argument has always been the circumstances of Roy's departure from Montreal that has taken on a "did he jump or was he pushed" extremity.

Of course, in the whole incident that needs not be recapped, there was no one cool head that prevailed to help keep Roy in a Habs jersey. No one disputes that it was Roy who said "I have played my last game for Montreal Canadiens" in the heat of the moment. No one denies either, that neither president Ronald Corey or coach Mario Tremblay, had a clue of what they were getting into in the long term.

Perhaps the whole mess would have been avoided had Serge Savard and Jacques Demers not been canned by Corey five losses into that same season.

After the 1994-95 season, one which was shortened by a players strike, Canadiens GM Savard was in the midst of trying to shake up the team when he was let go. After the team had missed the playoffs in 1995, Savard decided the team was rotting from the core and was preparing a blockbuster deal with the Colorado Avalanche that would return Stephane Fiset, Adam Deadmarsh, and Owen Nolan to the Habs for Patrick Roy and another player, likely Mike Keane.

Why would he want to trade Roy, you wonder, two seasons removed from the glorious Stanley Cup win of 1993?

Several theories abound, but it is most often assumed from statements by Savard and other players that Roy's comportment in the dressing room was not appreciated. The goalie was not getting along with much of the team, especially it's defenseman, and it was felt that Roy's presence was beginning to take up too much space and divide up sides. There was also the concern that he was beyond blame for losses in his coach's eyes, as Demers practically revered Roy to no end. All of it added up to a team that was being ripped apart by these issues.

Savard was about to move in and solve it when he was cancelled.

Demers successor Mario Tremblay came to the team with these issues at a head, and proceeded to duel it out with Roy like a pair of roosters in a cage.

Apparently the coach's first statement to Roy addressed the current issues when he said, "I'll do the coaching, you stop the pucks."

It didn't ease the bad blood that had long brewed between the two, with Tremblay getting the head start a season sooner as he worked in the same media that was privy to Roy growing egotistical behavior.

Roy, has always been all about winning at any cost. It is what endeared him to a hockey mad city, and also what caused the very public divorce. Roy's battling nature it seems, didn't stop at getting his way against opponants on other teams.

Today, many opinions are held that Roy quit on the Canadiens that night. Some say contrarily that the Canadiens quit on Roy. These opinions are mostly based on Roy's famous statement to Corey upon crossing his path behind the bench. It was a soap opera scene about a power struggle where both sides lost. Those images have stuck with fans for going on 13 years now.

Perhaps they are still too fresh in many folks memories for them to consider retiring his number in the near future.

The image that always stuck with me was not the Corey scene, but the mock saluting of the crowd by Roy when puck after puck beat him that night against Detroit. The fans that night, had quit on Roy - their right as fans. Roy, judging by his performance and gestures, quit on the team's fans at that moment as well.

I'm certain that he wasn't thinking that he owed them anything when he spoke to Corey.

For myself, the way Roy acted that evening was beyond disrespectful. I recall watching those moments, never once squarely blaming the goalie for the score. It is a team game afterall. In retrospect, those scenes simply reinforce the notion that Roy felt he was bigger than the team. It was an unacceptible display of arrogance and superiority in defiance.

I've heard the opinion that raising him to the rafters at this time would vindicate who he was, rather than honour the career he offered. I don't disagree with that take.

In Boone's article, the first one I read, he compares Roy with the players whose numbers currently hang from above. For him, it is not as simple as measuring one career against another, it is about the men behind the logo. Boone cuts the mustard this way:

"Look, admission to sports Halls of Fame should be based purely on achievement. You put up the numbers, you're in. Retired numbers are different. The roof of the Bell Centre is a Hall of the Hallowed. Every name up there wore his Canadiens' number with pride and distinction.....They were great athletes – and they were great human beings."

I understand what he's getting at. I'll go one further and put it like this: The greatness of the player should be equalled by the human inside. They are, afterall, hung there to become examples.

Now most human beings, hockey players included, aren't always so saintly. You have your Jean Beliveau's, you have your Claude Lemieux's.

The terms on which Roy parted, still divide. T.C. Deneault's account makes light of the fact that many of the players already so honoured departed through difficult circumstances. He writes:

"Sadly, sometimes the relationship between a team and its legends can come to a frustrating end. Some fans tend to gloss over it but legends such as Plante, Doug Harvey, Bernie Geoffrion, Guy Lafleur, Serge Savard, and Larry Robinson all left the Habs under acrimonious terms. Even the team's greatest star; Maurice Richard was estranged from the organization for a few decades....The players whose names hover on the banners that overhang the Bell Centre are there not because they were great men, but because they were the greatest players in the history of the Montreal Canadiens."

He's quite on the ball in pointing out that human flaw in itself should not separate one from the honour, but it goes deeper than that. There were never any controversies surrounding the actual number retirement of the players he mentions. And it didn't hurt that they were in fact, for the most part, great men and leaders of men.

Rocket's number nine was sent heavenly prior to his disagreement with the team in regards to the duties of his dressed up corporate position. Maurice Richard left an ambassador's job because he felt more worthy. By that time, his number had already been raised.

Doug Harvey was sent packing when he attempted to form a player's union to protect his brotherhood. His trade from the Habs ruined his life after hockey, as he descended into sad alcoholism. His story rips at your heart. His number went up while his health went down. It might have been the happiest day of his life.

Jacques Plante may just have been as neurotic as a goalie can be, and it drove Toe Blake and Frank Selke to extremes. Plante surely never wanted to leave the Canadiens. He had two brutal years as a Ranger before packing it in, then coming back later for another decade of great play.

The Boomer was hopeful of a coaching position within the Canadiens organization upon retirement. When he did not get the promotion he felt he had coming, he took a player / coach job with the Rangers. The Canadiens waited way too long to give him his day. The Boomer likely clung to his last breath thankful it was finally a done deal.

Savard retired because he was unhappy with his icetime towards the end of his career with the Canadiens. He was also being booed mercilessly by fans. He unretired half a season later when he was allowed out of his final contract season to sign with the Winnipeg Jets. Savard retired a second time, just over 12 months later, to return to Montreal as the team's GM. There was never any acrimony between Savard and the Canadiesn at that time. There may have lingered some after his canning by Corey, but he was thankfully gone when it came time to consider Savard's number retirement.

Lafleur also retired over a lack of icetime and faith by the Habs organization. It was extremely difficult for Guy to fit in with Jacques Lemaire's defensive system and his pride told him it could no longer work out. Savard, then GM, felt his head would hit an axe if he traded the legend. He refused Lafleur's demand, and the the player's exit from the ice to a position of ambassadeur was prepared. Lafleur was as ill suited for it as the Rocket was. By the time Lafleur slammed the office door behind him, his number was already alongside those of the Richards, Morenz and Beliveau.

Larry Robinson took his services to the L.A. Kings when Savard refused to fairly negotiate with him. All Robinson wanted for salary was his previous year's renumeration, plus the inclusive payment deferment which Savard essentially removed as a anti - negotiation ploy. Robinson felt he deserved as much for all his years. There was some verbal jousting between the one time defensive partners when Savard made mention of a possible jersey retirement for Robinson, before uncategorically taking such a statement of the table and claiming that Robinson had demanded it.

Now, none of these seven legends wanted to terminate their relationship with the Canadiens, it was forced upon them through the differing scenarios read above.

Roy's case, is completely different. He left Montreal in his prime, as seen, in the middle of a hockey game.

For J.T., retiring Roy's number is a slam dunk as well. She lists his achievements as the prime reason and makes a great point about what he meant to the Habs in the era and generation he played in. It is succinctly reminisced about in this way:

"When the debate about whether Patrick Roy should have his number retired arises, as it has once again since his son Jonathan's attack of another player, I get a picture in my head. It's of a 20-year-old, skinny, sweaty kid...still beardless...holding the Stanley Cup over his head, his cap of floppy hair and his red sweater soaked through as he screams his triumph. The look on his face is almost savage, but his eyes are filled with stars. Shortly after that picture was taken, he accepted the 1986 Conn Smythe trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player....There are other pictures, but that one is the most dominant, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's the one that decides the debate."

She may be mixing her sentiment too richly into fact and opinion. J.T. then underlines what Roy meant to the public, when he was revered and referred to as Saint Patrick:

"Those two wins gave new generations of Canadiens' fans a kind of link with the team's great past. Through the tinted looking glass of victory, they could glimpse what their fathers and grandfathers meant when they talked about the glory days and the greatness of the team. Through the play of Patrick Roy, they got a feeling for what it must have been like to cheer for the great French Canadian players of the past, and the ones who became legends even while they played."

I understand this wholly, but Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller, Carbonneau, Desjardins, Schneider and Dipietro all elicited the same feelings from in me 1993, regardless of language or heritage.

She then claims that, "The team owes Patrick Roy for carrying the torch in the darkest of times for the franchise. It owes him for being the French Canadian hero so many fans needed, and which so many local players are still unwilling to be. It owes him for bringing flair and drama to a team that needs flair and drama to lift itself above the ordinary. The team must pay the debt it owes by retiring his number."

Now I don't exactly get the concept of owing a player anything, I prefer to suggest they earn their merits unequivocally. J.T. defends the case by adding that, "To deny him the honour because of the way he left the team is both revisionist and unfair. So is the claim that he "quit on the team." You can say Patrick Roy was controversial. That he was passionate. That he was pigheaded. Even thoughtless and impatient. But one thing you can't say with validity is that he was a quitter."

Of course there is always two ways to look at things, and I am respectful of that notion. But J.T. does use a little revisionism of her own when she writes, "Should Doug Harvey have been denied the honour because he drank? Or Jacques Plante because he often refused to play games due to hypochondrial illness? Or Guy Lafleur because he sulked into retirement and slammed the team in print afterwards?"

Again, Harvey's drinking heavily came as a result, in many opinions, from his disconnection from the Canadiens organization, Plante being considered a hypochondriac is a matter of opinion and not diagnosis, and Lafleur had good reasons to sulk, he had years of game left in him and he in fact didn't slam the team in print until after his number was raised.

I'll go far as to say that anyone thinking that Roy did not quit on the team doesn't get the simple essense of the statement "I just played my last game for the Montreal Canadiens".

History backs his quote, Roy had had enough!

The fact does remain though, that Roy is undisputably one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. He was significant in a pair of Stanley Cups for the Habs at a time when it got a whole lot tougher to win them.

There are several players down through the years who sweat and bled for the Habs and whose jerseys are still not so honoured that I'd place well ahead of Roy in terms of who should be considered for the honour of jersey retirements next.

Toe Blake - two time Cup champ, 8 more as a coach and whose number is raised to the back of Tom Kostopoulos is a more pressing retirement than Roy's in my mind. Throw in the Hart trophies, scoring championships, all star team appearances, and there's a slam dunk that's passed everyone by.

Elmer Lach, another multi Cup champ, two time scoring champion and linemate along with Blake on Rocket Richard's devastating trio in the 1950's. His number hangs without his name, but on the jersey of Henri Richard. Elmer, I might be mistaken, is the oldest living Habs player today and another logical candidate for a jersey raising.

Bill Durnan and George Vezina before him, were both the greatest and most dominant goalies of their time. Their #1 should have been long gone by time Jacques Plante was given it. They've got accolades that make Roy's shrink, and had it not been for their excellence at crucial times in Canadiens history, the team may have gone on to a very different fate.

Vezina held the team up in the Habs first seasons, and brought them from a brutal sqaud to a contender that outlasted other Montreal franchises of the day. He played 325 consecutive games for Montreal. What killed him was what broke the streak. He deserves a grander tribute from Montrealers than having an arena - the one in Chicoutimi where Roy's latest slips took place - named after him.

Durnan helped revive the team, as a 27 year old rookie in 1943. The game's only ever ambidextrous goalie propped up a sorry Habs squad, with the help of the Punch line, and led them to a pair of Stanley Cups in the next four season. He played all of seven years, but won the Vezina Trophy in six of them. Some consider Durnan the greatest goalie they ever saw play.

Newsy Lalonde and Aurel Joliat came before and Howie Morenz. Neither were quite as spectacular, but both were extremely efficient in their time. Lalonde played, captained and coached the team all at once at times, carrying the team quite often and was a big part of the team's first Stanley Cup. He scored 124 goals for them in 99 career games in over 10 season. Newsy was a tough competitior on and off the ice, and truly the original flying frenchman.

Joliat came to the Habs, traded for Lalonde in 1922 and asumed the number 4 Newsy wore. Morenz joined two seasons later and the pair went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Canadiens. Joliat and Morenz spent over a decade neck and neck as the Habs two top scorers and continued the flying frenchman trend, although Joliat was actually of Swiss decent. Joliat would spend 16 seasons and over 700 games as a Montreal Canadien. Three number 4's should hang from the Bell rafters in their honour.

Ryan O'Byrne currently wears Emile "Butch" Bouchard's number 3. The players may actually be similar defenseman. Butch played 17 seasons for the Canadiens winning 4 Stanley Cups. He was the backbone of a feared backline, and captained the Habs for 8 seasons, one of the longest tenures in team history.

Of course, all of these players accomplishments shouldn't shrink Roy's achievements, but it ought to place them in a righter perspective historically.

Within the context of jersey retirements on a 100 year anniversary, I find it would be a greater shame to overlook these deserving legends than to pass over Patrick Roy for few more seasons.

Perhaps when Roy has more respect for the game and it's fans, considering him for such an honour will not be as controversial.

For the time being, I don't consider next season to yet be the proper time in Habs history for his day to come. It ought to one day, and it will.

In T.C Deneaut's rally behind Roy, he opens with this fact: " Time heals all wounds. Well, whoever wrote that never met some fans of the Montreal Canadiens."

Honouring a player's achievements and career should never be done with only partial approval. It should be a unanimous agreement, from management to fans - without a shred of controversy. If there still exists a debate over Roy today - whatever the individual reasons - then that says that now is not time. If the Canadiens wish to continue doing things in a classy manner, they'd be smart to wait this one out a bit.

Some wounds take longer to heal than others. Roy in his competitive thirst seems to absent mindedly open those old wounds and keep them fresh. Time will hopefully change that one day, and the perceptions of Roy along with.

I'll be happy when that day comes.



Anonymous said...

What's the rush? Just wait 25 years to consider Roy's number. Things will be less insane then.

Wamsley01 said...

Where is this line?

What is with everybody's supercilious attitudes.

How many negligent parents are sitting in front of their computer's questioning Roy's parental abilities?

How many self absorbed individuals are now criticizing Roy for being arrogant and selfish for quitting on the Canadiens?

I guess Roy should carry himself more like Martin Broduer. The guy who had an affair with his sister-in-law. Or Michael Jordan, the man with a gambling problem, who cheated on his wife and was the most demanding arrogant athlete of the last 30 years. I am sure it is ok for New Jersey or Chicago to raise those banners because they do not have the royal history of the great Montreal Canadiens.

Barry Bonds anybody? Pete Rose? Mike Tyson? Eric Lindros? Reggie Jackson? Terrell Owens? Ray Lewis?

Like it or not that is today's athlete. Pampered and preened from their early teens. Told how great they are, they walk down the street and people fall all over themselves in adulation, walk into arena where half the crowd is wearing their name and number on their back. How could these guys possibly become arrogant?

I am a lifetime fan of the Habs and the self righteousness nature of the fanbase is sickening.

You have to go and list off players who are dead or are on death's doorstep who deserve the honour.

Who is to say those players were deities in their time? The media certainly did not consist of 5 sports networks and internet outlets like TMZ. How do I know if any of them were arrogant? Film footage? Youtube? How do I know if they were good fathers?

It is amusing to me to watch a fanbase set a standard that the team has not matched in 15 years and will never match again.

He is not worthy, we only raise the numbers of the best players in history who were loyal husbands, gentlemanly sportsmen and great fathers. Oh yeah, they must also be Hall of Famers and multiple Stanley Cup winners.

If this is the standard for which your number must be retired, the Habs will be bringing down some names and will not be raising any post 70s dynasty.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong...but didn't he apologize for his 'I've played my last game' bit a few days after he said it.

beliveau1 said...

I concur wholeheartedly.
As an old time fan of this time who has watched this team for the last 50 years I hope that they will not retire Roy's number during the 100th Anniversary season.
The Canadien's simply epitomize the standard of class when it comes to a sporting organization - no matter how great an athlete Roy may have been, the fact remains he does not measure up to that in any sense of the word or concept.
His continued behaviour and more impotantly, the fact he simply quit on this organization at the height of his career absolutely disgust me as fan of this team, and a fan of our great game.
I hope that Bob Gainey and the organization take this into account when choosing who to honour next year. Roy may deserve that some day, but at this point the man does not begin to compare to the legends who have already earned that particular honour - they lived (and have died) bleeding the beloved tri-colore....


p.s. my personal choice would be Toe Blake. And to see banners honouring the legends of the team hanging from the rafters who may not be quite worthy of a jersey retirement level of recognition?

Adam said...

Really enjoyable post. Well thought out and for the most part well reasoned. You are to be commended for putting rationality above emotion (few involved in this debate seem as capable.)

One small quibble: There is no doubt in my mind that the most useful example of a former player and retired # to the pro Roy camp is that of Doug Harvey. There exists much anecdotal evidence that he was drinking heavily prior to his estrangement with the Canadiens (many tales of conspicuously full duffel bags and last minute arrivals for the team's departures). Furthermore, if we do grant your premise that his "sad alcoholsm" was a result of his estrangement from the Canadiens, you still have some work to do to prove your not begging the question by allowing this estrangement and not the hypothetical estrangement that Roy supporters would argue occured before and during that fateful final game.

Of course, if one was forced to argue against Roy's supporters on this count, they might do well to argue that alcoholism is rightly no longer considered a disease and is no longer equated with bad or loose 'character'.

Would Roy supporters then try to have Roy classified with an ailment? Competitiviness doesn't seem a worthy candidate. Megalomania might be more worthy, but would seem unwieldly if the point was to avoid discussions of character.

Besides, Harvey's condition (sad as it was) did not seem to manifest itself in terms of being an @$$hole, while that is exactly what Roy stands accused of.

Wamsley01 said...

Is being an asshole justification to deny somebody the honour of having their number retired? Arrogant?

Didn't Rocket Richard punch an official?

If today's athlete punched an official it would be shown for a week straight from 17 different angles, it would be on youtube 20 minutes later and it would be commented on by a thousand bloggers on the world wide web. And right now I would be sifting through an article as to why this player should not have their jersey retired because his character did not warrant it.

You are all kidding yourself if you think that every jersey hanging in the rafters belongs to a person of virtuous character.

All you have to do is read Guy Lafleur's autobiography to see what type of life he lead in the 70s. He was far from Ward Cleaver, he almost killed himself in a drunk driving accident and he is now embroiled in a controversy with his son.

Who defined what moral code is acceptable to retire a number? Did I miss that press release?

This is what the media does. It wasn't that long ago that the press was dragging Wayne Gretzky's name through the mud because his wife liked to gamble.

People are acting like Roy had a dog fighting ring, took steroids, bit somebody's ear off and raped somebody in Colorado all rolled into one.

Get a grip. He is among the best 10-20 players in Canadiens history. He deserves to be retired. Waiting 20 years will not change the fact that he is an arrogant asshole. If he is worthy then, he is worthy now.

beliveau1 said...

I am neither arrogant nor am I supercilious. And while I am disgusted by his continuous behaviour, my opinion is based on his actions that led to his estrangement with the organization in the first place.
None of the legends who have been honoured have been done so based solely on the fact they were gentleman. In fact many of them had great faults in their lives, some like Harvey's were indeed truly sad to learn of. None however distanced them self from this franchise in a more arrogant, childish, public or churlish manner than Roy chose to when it seems he wasn't getting his way.
Until he chooses to right that I believe that he falls short of the character of the men who have preceded him to the rafters of the Forum & the Bell centre, in spite of their so called shortcomings?

Yes (despite my obvious distaste for the man) he was one of the greats in the history of this franchise, but there is is still one who should come before him - Toe Blake. He has never truly been honoured for what he contributed to this team as both a player and a coach.
I do not deny him of the eventual right to see his jersey raised to the rafters, but he can damn well wait a while. Maybe he'll learn a bit of dignity along the way to it?

Wamsley01 said...

I have no problem with him waiting. If they can make Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, Serge Savard etc wait for close to 30 years than Roy can sit and wait as well.

But to question his place up in the rafters for off ice issues that don't revolve around major criminal charges, but because he is a jerk is ridiculous.

I am not calling any individual arrogant or supercilious. In fact I read this blog regularly and appreciate the point of view. As well as yours. But the overwhelming holier than thou attitude by the masses makes me ill.

I cross paths with people like Roy all the time in life and they are not bad people. I know I have done things that I am not proud of and am glad that I do not have a camera following me around 24/7.

What he did was wrong and I would not want him to coach my child on the facets of life, maybe not even coach him in hockey. But that has absolutely nothing to do with what he did as a Canadien on the ice.

Robert L said...

Wamsley, my whole point of this post isn't necessarily to judge Roy, or anyone who preceeded him for that matter, it's just that a retirement ceremony shouldn't be done in controversy.

The crux is not in Roy's off ice actions or attitude, the stickler remains the fact that he quit the team.

More time is simply needed before raising his number. I'd like to see a more unaminous idea of the man that all these fractured takes when he gets his day.


Anonymous....what's a half hearted apology worth?

Actions would mean more.


Beliveau1....glad you agree that the 100th anniversary for it wouldn't feel good.


Adam, thanks for noting that. I try as much as I can to achieve rationality over emotion. I'm happy to present as much fact as I am able, and them let others think about it. Trying to change someone's mind with a one sided account never appealed to me.


Jdub1515 said...

I was only 8 years old when I watched Montreal win their 24th live. And I still remember and idolize that moment in time. there are thousands maybe millions of children that grew up in the 80's and 90's with 1986/1993 as our only reference to the HABS historical storied franchise. #33 might be making some terrible mistakes today but he will always be my hero. THEY BETTER RAISE THAT NUMBER AND HONOR THE 2 CUPS HE DONATED TO THE CLAN.

Wamsley01 said...

I understand your point of view.

If Roy waits, that is fine. But he deserves to be up there. No doubt about it.

beliveau1 said...

wamsley1 - I realize you were not directing your comments at myself when I respoded. My intention was to respond to the particular use of those adjectives. Unfortunately there are those who fit that very aptly. However I was responding as such in order to point out the fact that I base my opinion on the actions of Roy in leaving this franchise.
Was he one of the best to ever suit up for the Habs - like you I have no doubt that he was definitely one of the great players this organization has produced. Unfortunately his character seems to have lacked that same level of greatness. Based on his antics I doubt that he warrants a total dismissal from such an honour - however at some point one may end up wondering if he has indeed worn out that welcome? Hopefully he realizes the need to balance his level of competitiveness with a more realistic approach to the game. Hopefully this happens much sooner than later because as it presently stands, one cannot help but wonder what possesses his thought processes all too often....

In the end I think he will eventually have his number retired - I just hope it isn't the next one. I believe it is too early and that there are some still deserving of this honour. Given the nature of the circumstances surrounding Roy, the anniversary season is not a good fit for this to happen

Wamsley01 said...

Unfortunately his actions have probably hampered the Habs plans for his retirement next year.

I undersand Jdub1515's perspective and I think the Canadiens wanted to retire Roy's number because he allowed the link to continue. He is the 30-40 year old's identifiable superstar. He is my Lafleur, my Beliveau, my Richard, my Morenz, my Joliet.

Without Roy it would be close to 30 years between Cups and the lustre on the dynasty would be a hell of a lot more tarnished than it remains today.

My generation would be no different than the generation of 15-20 year olds who do not remember the Habs being competitive at all. I talk to Hab fans regularly who remember the glory years as Recchi, Damphousse and Thibault.

Remove Roy from the equation and it is reasonable to believe that my generation would have suffered the same fate.

I enjoy watching Dryden, Savard, Gainey, Robinson etc having their jersey retired and get caught up in the emotion of those evenings. But it is not the same watching past their prime superstars and appreciating their full talents for what they were.

For me it is all stories and legend.

Patrick Roy represents my time, he represents everything it means to be a Habs fan for my generation. If you witnessed the 50s - 70s dynasty you cannot possibly understand what he means to my generation. I greatly respect Beliveau1 and his opinions but he cannot understand my perspective, he has been spoiled as has my father.

All of this talk about what it means to be in the rafters is all great, but it is a standard that has not been upheld in Montreal in 30 years.

Everybody made fun of the Leafs for honouring their ineptitude last season by bringing out a bunch of 70 year olds. So I feel it is time to honour our last remaining link to our glory years.

I still hold out hope that they will look past this incident and honour the man on the ice and not the arrogance of it.

Anonymous said...

I watched that final game that Roy played for the Habs. It's funny how you're quick to say he quit on them, when I believe that the organization and the fans gave him no choice.

The game was a complete embarrassment, and you can't blame the man for uttering those words when he did. Think about how he was feeling when FINALLY they pulled him from the game. How can you honestly blame him for wanting to be done?

It's known throughout the hockey world that the fans in Montreal are the most fierce. They love their team when they're winning, and they let you know when you're disappointing. They are relentless.

That fateful night was no exception. What the fans and critics seem to forget, is that hockey is a TEAM sport. Was the loss completely Roy's fault? No, not even close. Did he take all the brunt? Yeah he sure did.

In 11 years, he had ONE bad night. A night that could've been avoided had they pulled him before 9 goals were let in.

One night should not determine whether or not his number should be raised. Take out the fact that he can be a complete ass, and Roy is arguably the best goaltender to play in the NHL.

I'm ashamed that you, as a Habs fan, feel the way you do about a man who was legend in Montreal. He revolutionized the way goalies goal tend today. He brought us 2 Stanley Cups, one of which was in his rookie year.

Roy, no matter how arrogant, no matter what careless decisions he makes today. He was a great goaltender, and he deserves the recognition. PERIOD!

beliveau1 said...

wamsley01 - you're making me feel old (ha ha ha)
Obviously it is impossible to understand your age groups perspective being older. I will not argue that fact. However I can sympathize with you as I too have lived through this drought, suffering just as much as you have. It has grieved me deeply to see what was done to this organization prior to the arrival of Andre savard and then Gainey. I have seen the best and the worst of this franchise through the years I've followed this team. Was I spoiled - possibly? But then the NHL was built in such a way that building a true dynasty was much simpler than it is today. In fact I doubt that will ever happen again.....
Obviously Roy is key to your generation, and he was to me during the 2 Cup runs he contributed so greatly to. It's hard to deny that fact, even for an old dude like me!
Eventually he will be rewarded for that aspect of his life. I believe that his career accomplishments are fully deserving for such an honour. It is most unfortunate that his personality seems to embody so much of the opposite?
One point I beg to differ slightly on is your statement that we of the older generation cannot comprehend the perspective of a newer one. I remember that we were no different in our thoughts of our parental generations 25-30 years ago. However the passing of time has taught me that there was much wisdom in their principles. I will always have a soft spot for my generations moments, but I have learned to see what is good in both the old and the new. a fool clings only to what was, a wise man sees the true balance of what was and is to come. We are not all lost in the past of our youth and the glory days it enshrines. Personally I can admit if something today is better than what I witnessed as a youth.
Like you I am opinionated as to the status of Roy's contributions to this franchise. Our one difference probably is the fact that I am not 'married' to his accomplishments having been witness to so many who came before him. And I am not emotionally crippled by the great accomplishments of my era like some oldtime fans are.
Greatness is a fleeting commodity. It comes and goes. However a mans dignity can never be repaired once it has been marred. Unfortunately Roy has fallen short in that and he may never be able to recover that? I don't know if it will affect his chances of the Habs honouring him, but one thing is for sure in all of this. The manner in which he abandoned this franchise and his subsequent actions will always follow him in a cloud of controversy, no matter how great he may have been. He has done great damage to his own image thanks to the choices of his own will.
Much like you I believe his career warrants an honour of the type we are discussing, but it is sad that so many are so against it happening strictly based on his life after the tri-colore.
Whatever choice the Canadiens make as an organization regarding who will be honoured next, you can bet that it is going to cause a great deal of discussion and controversy.
I am rooting for Toe Blake or Elmer Lach....
(p.s. I have great respect for Roy's talents. He was one of the best big money game goalies I've ever seen. Unfortunately I just have no respect for him as a person or coach at all.)