Saint Patrick gets Roy-al treatment
The only three-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, Roy was at his best with everything on the line.
MONTREAL - With his eyes still stinging from the champagne sprayed following his Memorial Cup triumph last month, Patrick Roy's eyes may water for a different reason this fall when he rightfully assumes his throne in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Twenty years after leading the Canadiens to their improbable Stanley Cup triumph in the spring of 1986 as an unknown, lanky 20-year-old, Roy will be anything but anonymous when he is enshrined on Nov. 13 in Toronto.
Arguably the greatest goalie in NHL history and owner of countless league records, including most victories and most games played in both the regular season and playoffs, Roy's legacy will be most tied to his dominance during the postseason. The only three-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, Roy saved his best work for when it mattered most, armed with his knack of coming up with the big save.
Roy's impact continues to be felt in goal creases around the world. By popularizing the butterfly style, Roy spawned legions of goalies to do the same, especially in his home province of Quebec where young goalies everywhere first strapped on pads with their hero in mind.
Roy becomes the seventh Canadiens goalie to be inducted placing the Habs well ahead of the rest of the NHL, with the Chicago Blackhawks as Montreal closest rival with four Hall of Fame netminders to their credit. The first Canadiens goalie inducted was Georges Vezina in 1945, with the last one being Ken Dryden in 1983.
While Roy's induction to the Hall of Fame has been a mere formality since he played his last NHL game in 2003, sentimental favorite Doug Gilmour's case isn't anywhere near as automatic. Beloved for his relentless style and inspired play, the one-time Canadiens center and longtime Maple Leaf was not inducted and will have his work cut out for him as he hopes to punch his ticket for the Hall of Fame. A Stanley Cup winner with the Calgary Flames in 1989, Gilmour averaged almost a point per game over his 20-year NHL career that saw him pile up 450 goals and 1,414 points in 1474 games.
Gilmour can take comfort in 2006 inductee Dick Duff, who finally earned the nod a full 34 years after playing his last NHL game back in 1972. The six-time Stanley Cup winner, including four with the Canadiens, should serve as inspiration for players who, like Gilmour, did not make the cut in their first year of eligibility this time around, including Pavel Bure, Mike Richter, and Tom Barrasso.
Former Canadiens Roy and Duff will be inducted along with Flames part owner Harley Hotchkiss and the late Herb Brooks, who will both be honored in the Builder Category.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com