Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/09/06 at 08:37 PM ET
Q. I wondered if you could talk about the fact that in baseball if you were headed into Coperstown you’d have to wear one hat, and that’s been tough for a lot of baseball players going into the Hall of Fame there. If that was the case with the Hockey Hall of Fame here in in Toronto and you have to wear one jersey, how often do people ask you that?
PATRICK ROY: Well, many times. It would have been a very tough decision for myself, but fortunately for me I don’t have to make that decision. I played for two solid organizations, and winning in both of them, and I think they were both willing to do whatever it takes to win the Stanley Cup. I would like I said, I was very fortunate to play for both of them and they were extremely special to me.
Q. As a follow up, can you take us back to the ‘93 Cup final and the famous photograph or moment?
PATRICK ROY: The wink?
Q. Yeah, to Thomas Sandstrom. How many times you been asked about that?
PATRICK ROY: It’s amazing. Every time I think we were more nervous in the third period than the overtime. When the overtime happened, I mean, we were getting in such a zone and there was so much confidence coming out that we felt we would win. I think that was inspired by the wink was just showing the opponent that we were under control and we were there to win this hockey game and nothing will get in our way.
Q. I was talking to Pierre a couple days ago. He seems as excited about this as if he were getting into the Hall of Fame. I know you guys go way back. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship?
PATRICK ROY: I mean, the first time I met Pierre was in a restaurant in Granby. He was there with my dad, and was the day we made the decision to have Pierre as my agent. From that day on, I mean, he was extremely supportive. He really took myself under his wing, he really took care of us, my family, at the time my wife and my kids. They were very supportive of us. Always behind me. It was extremely tough when he stepped up as GM for the Quebec Nordiques at the time. I knew it was his dream and something that he wanted to do. He was ready for a new challenge.
I knew he would be he was such a great family person. Everything was around family, and it is special for me having him come in on the weekend and on Monday nig ht.
Q. It had to be a unique relationship. Obviously the franchise moved to Denver and then they traded for you and you were playing under him. But he said it was never awkward or anything, very professional, even though you guys are great friends.
PATRICK ROY: Yes, it was very professional. Everybody may be surprised, but I went to Pierre’s place maybe only couple times for dinner. But at first I remember Pierre driving me back from a game, and I said I feel a lot of pressure and I didn’t want to disappoint him when I was traded to Denver.
And he said, Hey, all I want is for you to have fun and be yourself. Stop putting pressure on yourself. And from that, moment I felt so much relief. When it’s something special like that, them making a trade for you, you don’t want to disappoint them. You want to go out and perform at a higher level.
The start was exactly the start I wanted. He took so much pressure away from me that it really helped me a lot.
Q. You’ve got so many records, many of which might never be broken. Do you ever kind of look over your shoulder at the way Martin Brodeur is coming on with some of those stats?
PATRICK ROY: Well, I always knew from the get go that Martin would be very close. I knew that if I wanted to make sure he wasn’t reaching my records I would have to play more years. I never played to protect records. I wish the best to Martin. He deserves it. He’s been playing so well for the Devils, and he’s it’s amazing how he finds a way to play so many games ever year and perform at that level.
You see guys playing close to 70 games ever year, and all of a sudden they’re going gown a bit. Martin has been finding a way to keep his game at a very high level. You can see that he enjoy himself playing, and I’m happy for him, very happy.
Q. Just as a follow up on something else, what makes you so hungry to win? I mean you won Stanley Cups in two different places and then you go as a coach and you lead that team to a Memorial Cup. I mean, is it something that you’re just maybe a little hungrier than everything else?
PATRICK ROY: Well, I always thought that winning was not everything, but it was the only thing. And maybe the position that I was playing. I knew that if I was not winning the coach was there to win. The organization was there to win, and the goalie has is inside of the same thing.
If you don’t win then you expect to be bench. Regardless if you play well, if you don’t win games the team wants to see the organization, sorry wants to see the team winning. And if you’re not part of it and you’re learning that. I think it gets contagious and then you want more and more.
Seems to me that it was a good situation to be in that position, and I think the performance to win, not just to play a very good game. I mean, you could go and play and block lot of shots, outstanding performance, losing 2 1 I was leaving the arena and it was arena it was a bad feeling. I had a better feeling going to my house winning 7 5 than losing 2 1 and having an outstanding performance.
Q. Two questions: One, the goalie equipment obviously evolved a lot over your career. What was it like in the days of the small stuff to have to stand in against the heavy shooters of that mid to late 1980s era? Did you ever get hurt or scared?
PATRICK ROY: No. I’ve never been scared. I think the quality of the equipment wasn’t too bad at the time. And to be honest with you, it did improve. But more than improve, because sometimes we felt like Robo Cop. There was not just protection, but we were having equipment for size and protecting, and that was a time where there was so many goals.
There was an average of I think I remember Brian Hayward that year won goals against average at 2.87. Now you play at 2.87 you’re afraid to go into the minors. It’s amazing, I mean, how the game has changed and equipment.
But we’re better, and I think the NHL did a good job and brought it back. But you should never lose site of protection for the goalie.
Q. Just a follow up. I’ve heard you speak a lot that you never really dreamed of going into the Hockey Hall of Fame when you were starting out, you just wanted to have a good career. What was that first Stanley Cup run like in your first year when you were young and fresh and everything was still there in front of you?
PATRICK ROY: It’s hard to believe when you start your first year in NHL that you’re going to be part of the Hall of Fame. It’s not something that you feel possible. And I think as a when I started my career all I wanted was to survive at the NHL level and have the best career possible, and then not having to go up and down to the minors.
You think about those things a lot, to be honest with you. I mean, I consider myself extremely lucky to have been supported by the organizations that I played for.
Q. First of all, you talked eloquently about the wink.
PATRICK ROY: Yes.
Q. And obviously that was the year of the ten straight overtime victories. So for that team, and I think all teams you played for, that took confidence from you. Can you explain when you were in the zone where nothing was going to get by you what that exactly felt like?
PATRICK ROY: I had that feeling a few times, but these are feelings that you wish you had every time you play a game. But I remember my first Stanley Cup when we played the Rangers in Game No. 3, that overtime, and those overtime games I mean, I think first of all overtime, as a goaltender, it’s a lot easier to be focused because you understand the game is on the line.
If there’s one going by you in the course of the game it’s going to hurt, but you know the puck is going to be dropped and you still have a chance to score a goal.
But in overtime you know that if the puck goes down behind that line you’re leaving for the dressing room. Your team is down. It was a time where it was so much easier for me to be focused, and I really enjoyed those moments.
I mean, I was nervous and I felt that, you know, every save we were getting was important. And those games, I mean, somehow I mean, sure I was such in the zone. It was such a high confidence level that I felt nothing could go by. I mean, they could have done anything wrong and I would find a way to make the save anyway.
Q. The second question, obviously as a rookie you won Stanley Cup, you won the Conn Smythe. Looking forward, would you ever consider coaching Canada’s Junior team, say in Ottawa in 2009?
PATRICK ROY: It is possible. If they offer, I would look at it. Junior is my thing now. A lot of people ask me if I was thinking about going at the NHL level. It’s not something that I look at at this moment. I doubt it’s something I would do. At this moment I don’t feel I’m ready for the NHL level. I think there are guys that are more ready than I am.
In my work I still have to adjust in games, I’m a little slow, and those are things that I want to get better at. I think junior is the perfect place to be. And working with players from 16 to 20, it’s a perfect fit. I have a chance to share my past. There’s players that dreams to play at the NHL level, and I really, really enjoy doing it.
Also, I mean but on your question, yes, certainly it would be a nice honor to represent my country and maybe eventually coach a team. It would be a nice challenge to try.
Q. Of your four Stanley Cups, two were obviously in two different cities with very different hockey pasts: Montreal obviously very storied, very historic in their success in the NHL, and when you came here to Colorado virtually none. Can you describe the experiences that you had with each of those cities in respect to their hockey histories and what the experiences were like for you in each of the two cities?
PATRICK ROY: Well, you’re right, they were both very different. But it was fun to be part of Denver. In a way, yes, they had the NHL at the time, the Rockies, Colorado Rockies were there.
But I mean, NHL coming back and the city has changed tremendously from that time and even today. A nd being part of it, it was fun. And it was fun because it was fun to be involved with the hockey and having people be excited about the Avalanche. The challenge people say, We love this team. We like to be associated with these players. Having to see the player I mean, making the commitment in the community and being involved, it’s amazing what the Avalanche still do today, how close they get to the fans and having those solid records.
We were all sad to see it stop. But I mean, all these years in Denver, seeing the support the fans were giving us, seeing how fast they were getting associated with the player and seeing the team win the Stanley Cup. If you were there the first time we won in ‘96 compared to 2001, it was amazing how fun it was to be part of that parade.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Eddie Belfour. I know he’s getting later in his career here. What do you think about his credentials to get into the Hall of Fame and that sort of thing?
PATRICK ROY: Well, I mean, certainly I believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He had a very good career and had very good years in Chicago and Dallas. I don’t follow as much this year, and of course his back injury has affected his play over the years.
But if you look back on his stats, he’s got tremendous numbers. He’s been an outstanding player, especially the year we played them in Dallas. We faced them two times in Game 7, and he was performing extremely well under pressure and for that team. I think he certainly deserves to be part of the Hall of Fame if you ask me the question.
Q. When you look back on his career as a whole, what quality do you think really stands out that makes him Hall of Fame worthy?
PATRICK ROY: He was a fighter out there. I mean, you could tell every time you were facing him you knew you had to play a very good game, especially in the playoffs. I played him in Chicago and Dallas, and there was no freebies.
You knew that night if you let any soft ones in that you would be in trouble. He was a great competitor, and he certainly loved to be challenged at the same time.
Q. Can you talk about your time in Colorado? More specifically, playing for the Avalanche organization in the period of time that you were here in Denver.
PATRICK ROY: They were it was a good change at the time, and playing with the Avalanche, a team that I knew from Quebec, a team that had a lot of good players on it, I was somehow I mean, I always thought it was a good fit for me.
And having that chance to win the Stanley Cup with that team, it was something that I couldn’t ask for any better. And knowing their GM and knowing Pierre would do whatever it takes because he wanted to win the Stanley Cup as bad as any player on that team, that he would do whatever it takes to bring the team to the next level. I thought it was a good fit and a good situation for me.
Q. Plenty of great moments in your career, obviously. Is there one that stands out above the rest for you?
PATRICK ROY: That’s a very tough question. When you play 18 years and you see many good teams and meet so many good people, so many good years and coaches, it’s hard to pick one moment.
I mean, all the Stanley Cups are extremely special. You know, those are the moments that come into your mind pretty fast.
Q. You were entering the Hockey Hall of Fame as all time leader in a couple or more goaltending records, as well. But how do you really personally going remember, like what do you think is the most special on attribute that Hockey Hall of Fame visitors should remember of Patrick Roy?
PATRICK ROY: Well, I don’t like to use the word, because so you don’t want to be compared to. I think I always felt that I was warrior. I’m not going to say that I went to the war and I mean, I hope I don’t take any respect from those people because they were special people that went to the war.
But I think I always tried to be a warrior on the ice and prepare myself. I never take anything for granted, and really try to perform as well as I c ould. It’s something that I felt that whatever I had to do I was trying to do it for the team. I hope I expressed myself correctly on that one.
Q. Could you talk and reflect on being a part of the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry and whether the games down here in the old Garden or up there in the old Forum, since you’ve been separated from it for a while, how you look back on those times?
PATRICK ROY: It was always a very at the time in Montreal there was two teams: It was Montreal Quebec and Montreal Boston. Even before the game starts you could feel the excitement in the stands. It would just carry onto the ice. It was the same thing in the Garden. It was a very different arena and smaller, and somehow every shot was a dangerous one the way the corners were made.
It was certainly special, and playing against players like Ray and Cam Neely, who had a lot of success against myself. It was always easy to be ready for those games.
Q. After competing against Ray for so many years, where does winning the Cup in Colorado with Ray as a teammate rank as far as your personal highlights?
PATRICK ROY: It’s obvious that it’s high. It’s probably in the top ten. I mean, the year that Ray came in, I mean, we were battling, to be honest with you, to make the playoff. I think that Ray brought a lot to our team, I think on and off the ice.
The following year was amazing to see that team, how much hungrier that team was to win the Stanley Cup. How much this team was willing to make a big commitment to success. And it was big part of it because of Ray.
I mean, our mission was to win and we all wanted to see Ray raising the Stanley Cup. You could tell even when we won the Cup, Joe then took it and it was Ray that raised it first, and I thought that just told you it was about the team.
Q. I was going to have you reflect on the rivalry, too. But in your second year in the league I talked with you and you talked about turning around and facing the net before the game started and imagining the net shrinking. Did you continue that through your career? As your career unfolded, did you do other things mentally to prepare?
PATRICK ROY: No, I turned around before every game until the end. That was a feeling that I really love. Absolutely right when I say I felt that the net was getting smaller. Just brought me a lot of confidence, yeah.
At the end it was a bit crazy. I had so many things. I was not touching the line; I was always dressing left to right; I was putting the names of my children I was putting paper around that knob and putting names of my children on it.
Yeah, I felt that at the end I had too much. Now as a coach I try to get rid of every one of them. It’s hard, but I try to not have any.
Q. When we look at the Avalanche winning those Cups and being so competitive in the playoffs, we see certain players like yourself and others that were so strong in the clutch, showing confidence under pressure. Some of your teammates are still playing: Chris Drury and Joe Sakic. What is it about players like that that seem so confident when the pressure was one?
PATRICK ROY: First of all, I mean, Joe has had an outstanding career and still performs at pretty good level with Denver. It’s amazing how much Joe came through for us in the clutch. He played extremely well for us both years we won the Stanley Cup.
If he had a so so playoff, it affected our team big time which just showed you how special and important he was to the club, Joe is a great competitor. He loved to compete and always loved to be better than the guy in front of him. He certainly deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s been acting and playing the game.
Chris Drury, I always felt that he was the fighter on the ice. he has tons of pride. It’s amazing to see the kind of leadership that he brings. I’m not surprised to see the success that he has with the Sabres and see him as one of the leaders of that club, and to see the success the Sabres have.
I’m happy for him, because if there’s one guy y ou can give the puck, I think he was the guy that you were not afraid to give him the puck.
Q. Your path to the Hall of Fame took a very strong route right from being a rookie in Montreal. There’s always been excitement and pressure for French Canadians to be successful in Montreal. How did you deal with that and how were you successful?
PATRICK ROY: At the time it was unknown for myself. I mean, I was going there and playing my games. To be honest with you, I guess I didn’t know any different. Maybe it would have been different if I would have started in Colorado then gone to Montreal.
But starting in Montreal it was my dream to play at the NHL level. And I thought that was a good fit for me playing with Montreal and having a team where they’ve lost their two goaltenders. I mean, Rick Wamsley was traded to the St. Louis Blues and the other left as a free agent.
It was a great opportunity to step at the NHL with the doors wide open. I mean, and it was up to me to come into camp in good shape and work hard and hopefully it would allow me a chance to play.
Q. I want to take you way way back here. I’m just wondering, why did you become a goalie in the first place? What drew you to the position?
PATRICK ROY: The equipment. It’s clear, I mean, remember when I was 10, 12 years old, not even as old as that, but 7 or 8 years old, I was playing upstairs in my parents house. We were taking pillows and putting belts around the legs. The goalie equipment, if I was playing, let’s say I was collecting hockey cards even then and playing games on my bed. If the goalie didn’t have a mask I had to make one for him, and if he didn’t have equipment on I didn’t think that was a goalie.
Goalie equipment was something that really, really made me wanted to start. The best thing that happened to me is the first year I was playing in the league outside and the goaltender got hurt. I asked the coach to go in, and he said you’re too small. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be a goalie. Then the following year I asked my mom, maybe if I went there and they let me go in I would never want to play the position again. It was a good thing.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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