Nobody had to ask Patrick Roy
to show up at the Bell Centre on Saturday night. He wanted to be here to witness this piece of history for himself.
The Hall of Famer, who until 9:39 p.m. ET on Saturday held sole possession of the NHL's all-time record for regular-season victories, seemed genuinely thrilled to welcome someone else into his exclusive club.
Roy is also delighted that soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday night, Martin Brodeur
will leave him in his wake by breaking the record -- and push it to a level that may never be broken, at least not any time soon.
"I was hoping to be there the day he tied it at least, or beat the record. I'm happy to be here to see it happen," Roy said after Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils
beat Montreal 3-1 for his 551st career victory, matching Roy's total. "I know Montreal is in the middle of a big race, but it's a great moment in the game. I'm very happy to see that game. One day I'm going to say my grandchildren, 'Hey, I was there the night he tied me.' It means something to me."
While you may assume that watching Brodeur's assault on his records would be at least somewhat bittersweet for Roy, it has actually been a wonderful experience that has allowed him to take a stroll down memory lane.
It has especially brought back memories when he beat the late Terry Sawchuk
's old record of 447 career victories.
"Since I have retired I haven't put a lot of thought into my career, and to be here (Saturday night), to be there (Saturday) morning, it kind of reminds me when I met with Terry Sawchuk
's son," Roy said. "It was a great moment for me. It's fun to get some flashbacks from then.
"I'm very happy to be here and to see this moment," Roy continued. "I think it's great for the game of hockey. Hockey has been good for me, the NHL has been great to me, and it's nice to be here."
Brodeur was equally touched to have Roy, the goalie he grew up idolizing, watching from a suite inside the Bell Centre.
"When you do these kinds of things sometimes you don't get to know the person, but I got to know the guy," Brodeur said. "I played with him and against him. We had great battles. He took a Stanley Cup (2001) away from me. It is really cool for him to take the time. It shows a lot of class. I really appreciate it."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org