NHL

Return to Montreal as coach doesn't faze Avalanche's Roy

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TSN.ca Staff
3/17/2014 3:31:48 PM
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With his Colorado Avalanche set to take on the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, it slipped coach Patrick Roy's mind that his number hangs from the rafters at the Bell Centre.

"I forgot," said Roy. "See how focused I am for the game?"

Of course, the legendary Habs netminder was kidding.

"I made sure it was there with no dust on it," Roy joked about his banner that was raised in 2008.

Roy, with his Avalanche firmly in possession of a playoff spot, returns to Montreal as a coach for the first time with plenty of Jack Adams buzz surrounding him. The first-year coach has his Avalanche sitting in second place in the Central Division, six points behind the St. Louis Blues, with a shot at the President's Trophy.

It was in Quebec with the QMJHL's Remparts that Roy got his coaching start and credits his time there with getting him ready for the rigours of an NHL job and how to relate to his players.

"The days with the Remparts prepared me really well and helped me a lot," said Roy. "I think that this is a group that needs positivity and it's easy for me to be positive because they work so hard."

Known for never blowing up at his team during intermissions, Roy doesn't see the need for post-period tirades.

"There's nothing you can do about the first or second, it's what you can do in the third," he said.

The first year for a coach in the NHL is always a major learning experience and rookie bench bosses tend to fail a lot more than they succeed. Roy credits an understanding with his players as to why he is thriving.

"We based our relationships in trust and respect and a partnership," explained.

The 48-year-old Sainte-Foy, Quebec says he's made sure that his return to Montreal will be focused on getting two points for his Avalanche and that Tuesday's game isn't about him.

"I was trying to not think too much about it," said Roy. "I tried to have a simple approach to this game. I don't try to put myself ahead of the team. It's not about me, it's about them. They deserve the credit for our success and they're reason for why we are where we are."

Any enmity that lingered after Roy's acrimonious exit from the Canadiens in 1995 is long gone, says the four-time Stanley Cup-winner.

"It didn't really last very long for me," said Roy. "It's been behind me for a long time, but it takes two to dance sometimes."

With his number retired in 2008 and his participation in the team's centennial ceremony the following year, Roy credits Canadiens fans for welcoming him back with open arms, citing calls for him to coach the team in 2012 prior to the re-hiring of Michel Therrien.

"It was nice to see that the past was behind us and we could move on," said Roy. "For the ego, it feels good."

The Habs host the Avalanche on Tuesday at 7:30pm et. Catch all of the action live on TSN Canadiens or listen on TSN Radio 690.

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