A couple weeks ago Avs former goalie and head coach Patrick Roy sat down for a radio interview with Mario Langlois. It was long, covered a variety of topics and Patrick was candid as usual. It was also in French so it flew under the radar here in the states. Our good friend King Forsberg did us a huge favor and translated it into clear, idiomatic English. Without further preamble, here it is:
Date : September 19th
Network : Cogeco Media
Interviewer : Mario Langlois (ML)
Link : http://www.985fm.ca/nouvelles/sports/patrick-roy-a-parle-a-radulov-avant-qu-il-quitte-le-ch
Disclaimer : English is my second language so while there may be some grammatical errors or sentence structure problems, you can trust the meaning has been properly conveyed. I did not translate word for word, because that’s the best way to lose the meaning in the process.
The first part of the interview (from beginning to 9:02) was about Roy’s passion for Golf and Anne-Catherine Tanguay’s promising career. She is a 26-year-old golfer from Quebec City playing in the Symetra Tour and knocking at the LPGA’s door. He’s been sponsoring her and following her career closely.
He then discussed François Allaire’s retirement…
ML : « François Allaire announced his retirement from hockey only two weeks ago. He was someone important for your career and I was asking him what his career would have been like if he hadn’t met you Patrick. He said, smiling: « I prefer to not even think about it ». I am not exactly asking you the same question but did you connect with a lot of people the same way you connected with Allaire ? Would you say he’s one of the guys you connected the most with in your career and did you connect that way with other people? »
#33 : « I was very fortunate to play for two great organizations, the Canadiens and the Avalanche. I had good coaches, great teammates, I’ve been privileged. Honestly, François was perfect for me, especially in a time when the butterfly style was frown upon by most coaches. At that time, the stand-up style was popular, so being different was perfect for me. It was indeed one of the most influential meeting of my career. François was of tremendous help, we had great chemistry. He’s such a loyal guy. When I took the job in Colorado, I called him. He could have gone elsewhere, he had other offers. That kind of loyalty made an impression on me. I like the fact that he ended his career the way he wanted to, on his own terms. It’s a happy ending. He influenced the goaltending position quite a bit, especially in regard to coaching. Before him, there were no goalie coaches. The position simply did not exist. I am tipping my hat for what he’s done for goalies, I think it’s fantastic. »
ML : « I am asking you again Patrick, is there anyone else who you connected that way with, no matter what their role was ?
#33 : « I don’t want to start naming people, because you don’t get the kind of career I had without being surrounded by extraordinary people. Whether it’s parents, coaches, close friends, there are so many people who play an important role. Sometimes people think that a career like mine happens easily, without too many obstacles and that the sun is shining everyday. It’s not. Some days are difficult, you come home with your tail between your legs, just like anybody. You come to the conclusion that you need help. Sometimes a friend will call you at the perfect time, or you have a conversation with the coach or the assistants, with a relative… it all helps to go back to the rink stronger. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had such a great close circle, so many extraordinary people surrounding me. »
ML : « You were saying you were happy for François Allaire because of the way he ended his career. You kind of did the same when you decided to come back to Quebec and leave the Avalanche’s head coaching position. Are you sad to see how bad the Avalanche is after the promising first season you had there? It’s tough to get out of the position they are in and it probably had something to do with your decision to leave? Does it bother you a little? Or not really?
#33 : « The fact that I played eight years there and I spent three more as the head coach means I have a special proximity with the team. It saddened me to see how they ended up last season. That being said, they have many good young players and I am confident things will get back on track and they will see better days. They chose to go younger, there is a price to pay for that, but the future looks promising. I really believe in a guy like MacKinnon. I have confidence in the young guys they drafted, Rantanen… and guys like Barrie and Johnson on the back end. Eventually, it’s going to click for them. »
ML : « Have you seen Joe Sakic ? Are you still in contact with him ?
#33 : « Yes. I saw him last year at the NHL’s 100th anniversary ceremonies. He came to see me. Joe and I never really had any problems, quite the opposite. The day I announced my resignation, we spoke about golf for a while and then I told him I was going in a different direction and I was wishing them the best. That’s how it ended. Unfortunately, in the hockey world, we have decisions to make and for me, I didn’t feel the team was going in the right direction and I preferred to turn the page.
ML : « If it were up to you, would you coach in the NHL again ?
#33 : « I used to think I could answer that question. But I can’t. You never know. If the right situation presented itself… it could change my mind and I could say I am interested. When you are passionate about hockey, sometimes all you need is a phone call. For now, when coaching jobs became available, I didn’t call anyone or manifest my interest whatsoever. If someone calls, I’ll listen and analyse the situation when it happens, but I don’t feel like calling teams and tell them I want to coach again. Like I said, if an opportunity presents itself, I’ll consider it, but for now it’s not a priority for me.
ML : « Since your retirement you may have discovered that your ex-teammate Stéphan Richer wasn’t so wrong after all. You remember he made the front page at the time with his quote?
#33 : « I don’t remember, can you refresh my memory ?
ML : «Richer said : Hockey is not everything »
#33 : « Yeah… you know, there’s a timing for that. I am right there, I am in a good place in my life. I consider I gave back to the game of hockey. The game has been really good to me, it allowed me to experience tremendous emotions, to live my passion.
I follow what happens in the NHL from afar and I kind of like it, to feel like a hockey fan. We get to the clubhouse and we discuss the latest decisions taken around the league, we have a blast. It’s a passion, it’s fun to talk about it. »
ML : « Last two questions before your tee time… Did Radulov ask you for advice while he was negotiating with the Habs ?
#33 : « I spoke to Radu before he made up his mind. He loved to play in Montreal and I am convinced it was a special place for him, but sometimes we have decisions to make. I don’t really know what the offers were, but I can tell you Radu adored Montreal fans, but in the end, he felt it was better for him to go to Dallas. That’s it. »
ML : « If you had been the Habs’ GM, would you have tried to give him more money to keep him next to Max Pax and co. ? »
#33 : « The good news is that I am not the GM. »
ML : « Is Duchene a guy you would recommend to Marc Bergevin ? Or would you advise him to be patient ?
#33 : I really like Duchene. Some people thought I didn’t because I criticized him after his 30th goal celebration. I’ve always liked Matt Duchene. He’s a tremendous player. I criticized him because I was trying to instill the team’s core values and it starts by playing for the team. Individual achievements are not important. We wanted our players to be fully dedicated to the team. Matt got what we were trying to accomplish and was fully on board with my message. All that to say that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Matt Duchene to any organization. He’s still a young player, but is at a point in his career where he needs to take on more responsibilities and help his team reach a new level.
I hope things will go well for him. If it’s in Colorado, it’s all good. If it’s somewhere else, it’s okay as well. »
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It’s been rare to get Patrick’s view on things in the past year. I’m trying to remember an interview in English and I’m not sure there’s been one since he left the Avs and if there has it’s been brief. He’ll always be a divisive figure for Colorado fans, even more so for hockey fans in general, but his opinions are definitely interesting.
A thousand thanks to King for the translation and I do hope you all enjoy this.