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Great Moments Blur For Roy

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
Story by Evan Grossman | Staff Writer

Patrick Roy can't think of one moment that stands out from the rest of his sparkling NHL career, he can't conjure one singular image after a 19-year run as the greatest goalie who ever lived.

There are just too many of them.

There are four Stanley Cups, three Conn Smythe Trophies, three more Vezina awards, an all-time record 551 wins, and more games, minutes and playoff shutouts ever recorded by an NHL goalie.

On Monday, yet another memorable moment comes when Roy will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Toronto with Dick Duff, Harley Hotchkiss and Herb Brooks as part of the Class of 2006, capping one of hockey's legendary careers.

While Roy might not be able to find one moment that stands out from the rest in his legendary tenure that saw him win four Cups in Montreal and Colorado, the rest of us have plenty of Roy memories of our own. Perhaps him winning the Cup in 1986 as a rookie stands out, or maybe it was the blockbuster trade that sent him from the Canadiens to Colorado in December of 1995 that most rings a bell. Maybe it's the fights he had with Detroit goalies Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood, or maybe it's that famous wink he gave Tomas Sandstrom amid the intense fury of the 1993 Cup Final.

During Game Four of that series against the Kings, in a moment that personified the swagger and feeling of invincibility the Habs had with their all-planet goalie in the cage, Roy showed the kind of confidence and bravado that made him one of a kind. Midway through the third period of that game, Roy came up from making a crucial save against Tomas Sandstrom with the game tied and he winked at the Los Angeles sniper.

"It's amazing," Roy said. "I think we were more nervous in the third period than the overtime. When the overtime was coming, we were getting into such a zone and there was so much confidence coming up that we felt we could have won. I think that was inspired by it. I mean, the wink was just showing the opponent we were under control and we were there to win this hockey game and nothing will get in our way."

The Canadiens went on to win a 10th consecutive overtime game that night, their third straight OT win in the series, and raised the Cup in five games. It was Roy's second title with Montreal and also his last, traded in 1995 to Colorado, where he won two more before his career was over.

He was a player that thrived on pressure and the bigger the stage, the better Roy played.

"I always thought that winning was not everything, it was the only thing," Roy said, adding, "I had a better feeling, to be honest with you, going to my house winning 7-5 than losing 2-1 in an outstanding performance."

It was a bitter divorce between Roy and the Canadiens. But when asked yesterday if he had to pick a jersey to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in, much like baseball players wear hats in Cooperstown, Roy sounded as if the hatchet had been buried between he and the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

"It would have been a very tough decision, for myself," Roy said. "Fortunately for me, I don't have to make that decision. I played for two solid organizations, I was winning in both of them. They were both doing whatever it takes to win the Stanley Cup. I was very fortunate to play for both of them."

Roy retired after the 2002-03 season as the NHL's all-time goaltending leader in wins (551), games (1,029), playoff wins (151), playoff games (247) and postseason shutouts (23). Most of those accolades seem insurmountable, with Ed Belfour second in wins with 460 and Terry Sawchuck second with 971 games played. But Martin Brodeur, with 23 playoff shutouts, seems poised to make a run at some of Roy's records.

Going into Thursday's games, the 34-year old Brodeur had 454 wins in 826 games and 89 playoff wins in 153 postseason games.

"I always knew from the get-go that Martin would be very close," Roy said. "I knew that if I wanted to make sure he doesn't touch it, I'd have to play a few more years. I never played to protect records, and I wish the best to Martin. I hope he's going to pass that. He deserves it. He's been playing so well for the Devils and it's amazing how he finds a way to play in so many games every year and perform at that level. I mean, there are guys playing close to 70 games every year, and all of a sudden, they're going down a bit. Martin is finding a way to keep his game at a very high level, and you can see that he enjoys himself playing in net and I'm happy for him. Very happy for him."

Roy won three Con Smythe Trophies (1986, 1993 and 2001) as playoff MVP, three Vezina Trophies (1989, 1990 and 1992) as the NHL's best goalie and has even found success as a rookie coach, winning the Memorial Cup last year with the Quebec Remparts.

The formula remains the same. Just as when he was a player, Roy's will to win and hunger to be the best are as intense as ever, which is why he'll be enshrined in the Hall of Fame Monday
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