MONTREAL - A tempestuous Quebec hockey god enshrined in the hockey Hall of Fame asked for forgiveness Tuesday for his part in a tawdry brawl that landed him a suspension and is now under criminal investigation.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League brought in its verdict on the great goalie fight, handing a seven-game suspension to Quebec Remparts goaltender Jonathan Roy and five for his coach and father, former NHL star Patrick Roy.
Moments later, Quebec prosecutors ordered a criminal investigation into the Saturday night fight between Roy's Remparts and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
The league said Patrick Roy was suspended for "prejudicial conduct."
Saturday's brawl was similar to many that take place in hockey - until Roy's son bolted across the ice to pound on Bobby Nadeau, his goalie opponent, who offered no resistance.
Jonathan Roy then gave fans the one-fingered salute before scrapping with another player.
A fatigued and contrite Patrick Roy apologized to Nadeau and his family as well as to the Remparts organization.
He was also apologetic toward his son.
"I regret not controlling the situation better," Roy said in a brief statement in French at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City. "I saw what Jonathan went through in the last few days and it was painful for him.
"If I had controlled things better, he wouldn't have had to go through that."
Since Saturday, the brawl has been replayed countless times on newscasts and made front pages across Canada, igniting debate on whether fighting should be banned from hockey and on the responsibility of coaches to control their players.
Roy, who was on the bench during the brouhaha, denied playing any role in the melee, although he appeared to urge on his son with a wave moments before he attacked Nadeau.
"They saw something because they gave him a suspension," said former NHL coach Jacques Demers, who coached Roy with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1990s. "I love Patrick to death. He won a Stanley Cup for me.
"But I can't agree with what he did. He put his son in a very bad position. I know Jonathan. He's not a bum. He's a good kid."
Demers also predicted the incident would prompt Roy to give up coaching and concentrate on being general manager of the Remparts. Roy made no mention of his future in his statement.
"I think that's the last we'll see of Patrick Roy as a coach," Demers added. "It's been a burden for his family.
"And Patrick's not going to change. He's like that - impulsive. He's a good-hearted guy who makes some bad decisions."
Quebec's minister responsible for sport, Michelle Courchesne, promised to launch a national crusade against hockey violence with her provincial counterparts. Her own son played three years in the QMJHL.
But in the hockey world, it was seen mainly as a brawl like many others that have occurred over the years.
Former NHL goaltender Kelly Hrudey, an analyst for Hockey Night In Canada, said the incident likely would not have received much attention had it not involved Roy, a fiery personality who is also one of the greatest goalies in NHL history.
"I feel the whole incident has been overblown," Hrudey said. "It's a front page story in Western Canada and it's not big news in any sense. It's ridiculous."
Ray Ferraro, a former NHL forward who is now a hockey analyst, was more upset at Roy's gesturing from the bench than the fighting. Ferraro's son Landon plays junior hockey for the Red Deer Rebels.
"The video of him pointing is pretty damning," said Ferraro. "Plus there's the dynamic of coaching your own kid.
"I can't imagine how embarrassed I'd be to see my son act like that. It wouldn't be a pleasant chat if I saw that."
Chicoutimi coach Richard Martel received an automatic two-game suspension because his player Sebastien Rioux left the bench to fight Jonathan Roy.
Rioux was suspended for six games. Each team has 48 hours to appeal the sanctions.
Jonathan Roy was also fined $500.
League commissioner Gilles Courteau called the coaches' suspensions "severe" and warned all teams that further incidents would bring harsh punishment.
He was also assured by both clubs there would be no further controversy in their first-round playoff series, which was tied 1-1 going into Game 3 on Tuesday night in Quebec City.
"I am convinced the rest of the series will be invisible," Courteau said.
No players were seriously hurt in the incident.
In another series on the same day as the Chicoutimi incident, Shawinigan Cataractes forward Tommy Tremblay barrelled into Gatineau Olympiques goaltender Ryan Mior after a whistle, touching off a melee that led to 10 ejections. That donnybrook spilled little ink.
Tremblay was suspended for six games, teammate Olivier Donais got one game for a hit to the head and Gatineau defenceman Julien Machabee got two games for being third man in a fight.
The Chicoutimi-Quebec brawl broke out near the end of the second period of Game 2 of their playoff series with the Sagueneens leading 7-1.
After being restrained briefly by an official, Roy skated to the Chicoutimi goal, pulled off Nadeau's mask and threw several punches, even when the Sagueneens goalie was on the ice.
Roy finally skated away, giving the finger with both hands to the braying Chicoutimi fans and then getting into a fight with Rioux. Roy was assessed two fighting majors, a minor and two game misconduct penalties.
He made a public apology on Monday for making a rude gesture to the crowd but not for pounding Nadeau.
There may have been a tactical element to the attack.
Nadeau, 20, led the QMJHL this season with a 2.63 goals-against average in 46 games and has allowed only three goals in two playoff games.
The 19-year-old Roy was near the bottom of the league's goaltending statistics in the regular season, with a 3-10 record in 22 games and a 3.96 goals-against average. Kevin Desfosses, the Remparts player of the year, is their No. 1 goalie.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron said teams have been known to try to put top goaltenders off their games with rough play. He recalled a series in junior hockey with Quebec when he was repeatedly run at by Gatineau players. At the time, Biron's backup was out with an injury.
In one AHL playoff season, opposing goalies twice skated down the ice to engage him in fights.
"They wanted to put me off my game," Biron said. "I'm not saying that's what happened here, but sometimes in the playoffs, things are different."
He added that emotions can sometimes get the better of players. Last season, he was involved in a scrap with Ottawa Senators goalie Ray Emery.
"Sometimes the emotion takes over, and then I get into that fight with a guy who is a much better fighter than me," he said. "Sometimes you make decisions you regret and sometimes you make decisions that are good for your team.
"It's an emotion-driven sport and that's what makes hockey so great and intense. You just hope nobody gets hurt."
As well as the suspensions, the Remparts and Sagueneens were each fined $4,000, Shawinigan was fined $2,000 and Gatineau $1,000.