It all began on May 3, 1986. A 9-year-old boy looked intently at the third in the Eastern Conference final of the National Hockey League. The fight is fierce between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers.
Madison Square Garden was the arena of this fight. This young man had his first baptism of the New York crowd.
This same crowd shouted with all their strength towards a young Quebecor goalkeeper praying that his concentration and play would be affected. The crowd shouted in ridicule with: ROOOOAHHHHH Alas, this young goalkeeper named Patrick Roy gave the best performance of his career. He made 13 goals saves in 2 minutes.
This match put Patrick Roy on the map. I allow myself to write that he flew (in a good way) in overtime this legendary match. We saw how special he was. The eyes of this young boy from Montreal North had changed forever. Not only that the New York crowd has left a legacy in his memory, but he has never seen in real time despite being a child of the year 1976, a performance of this kind. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Montreal was on fire. He also saw his first riot as if it was England that had won the Soccer World Cup and the Hooligans were demolishing the streets of London. Well, I’m exaggerating, but there is a hint of truth. The boy understood the notion of riots at that time.
Patrick Roy became at that moment a myth, a legend and a messiah. He became Patrick Roy. It was the beginning of the Montreal empire. I can already hear the screams, read the emails of insults saying to me: You are crazy or what. We won a second Stanley Cup in 1993. You do not know what you’re talking about.
This match put Patrick Roy on the map. I allow myself to write that he flew (in a good way) in overtime this legendary match. We saw how special he was. The eyes of this young boy from Montreal North had changed forever. The boy is my big brother and he always asked this question. Would the Canadiens have beaten the Edmonton Oilers during this series? Very hard to answer especially since the Oilers had a team of shock with Gretzky, Coffey, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, Murphy, Huddy, Kurri and the rest of the Dream Team in hockey. I think you guessed my answer.
File action shot of Paul Coffey of the Edmonton Oilers, apparently shot sometime in 1987. Edmonton Sun photo by Paul Wodehouse. Scanned at 300 dpi on the Epson.
In this series, Oilers’ Steve Smith scored a goal in his own goal by accident and the Calgary Flames, who were also a great team, eliminated the Oilers. Tears poured out for the Oilers fans. It was an incredible shock. My brother said at that time, maybe Canadians would have a chance to win the cup. His only Big Brother’s desire was for Canadians to beat the Nordics if they met. Speaking of the Nordics during this series, the name that could still give nightmares to Michel Bergeron, the goalkeeper Mark Liut made a Patrick Roy of himself against the Nordiques and we had to say bye bye to the Nordiques of Quebec during the 1986 eliminations.
The Canadians make this elimination of the Nordiques did not have to face them. Also, they dodged the mighty Philadelphia Flyers, as the Rangers surprised the Flyers by eliminating them in 5 games. The sad note during this clash was that the Flyers had lost goalkeeper Pete Linberg in a serious car accident. Despite this sad loss, it was a very dangerous team during the playoffs.
The league’s third-best league at the time, the Washington Capitals, was also surprised by the Rangers and was eliminated in Game 6. Maybe you can see where I’m going in my next remarks. The media and the whole world gave all the Montreal Canadiens victory credits in the 1986 playoffs and Patrick Roy’s rise to the Stanley Cup but do not you think that maybe circumstances have major roles without underestimating the undeniable talent of number 33 but luck was a very big factor.
I would say yes. The facts prove this statement and it is correct. There is no shame in that. It was not the first time, but the mentality following this victory in 1986 changed the culture of the Montreal team forever and not necessarily for the better.
In 1971, an ingenuous youngster to play only a few games in the CH uniform (6 games to be more precise). Ken Dryden confronts with his teammates such as Jean Béliveau the Boston Browns.
The Bruns were the best team in the league with, in my opinion, the greatest hockey player of all time, Bobby Orr.
Ken Dryden inverted the series against Boston in the first round. I should say that Patrick Roy made a Ken Dryden of it in 1986. Mr. Dryden was the original.
The difference is in a name that is Sam Pollock. The former director general does not know said at the time: Well, we found our guardian so our game system must turn around him. On the contrary, after this playoff series, he said he will build the biggest team in the league.
He was searched for the white demon Guy Lafleur during the draft. Later, Larry Robinson, Bob Guiney, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe trained the new generation of the Canadiens 70’s style team.
The mentality of the team was not to focus on the goalkeeper, but to become a great team. Sam Pollock was taking chances and with the team that had, the sky had no limit for the Habs.
You see what I mean.
This is the team I want to see again.
The worst thing that happened to the Montreal Canadiens was that they won the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1993. Given the miracles of number 33, the organization instead wanted to find a second Patrick Roy instead of building a dynasty surrounded by kings. In 1987, the Canadiens had a better team in 1986 and when they faced the Flyers in a row they lost.
Nowadays, big teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings have star forwards, incredible defencemen and very good goalies. For Chicago for example, the key to their team is their defensive unit because they must defend and fuel the attack.
For Canadians, the team’s structure is far too dependent on the goalie’s performance. Carey Price is not in his best form and Canadians are not playing as badly as they say, but the structure is killing the team. We want to live too much in the past instead of moving forward. During the exchange of Patrick Roy, instead of looking for key players, Réjean Houle was sought Jocelyn Thibault. A goalkeeper he hoped to be a second Patrick Roy.
When we had José Théodore, once again, we imposed too much responsibility on him as a goalkeeper. P.K Subban’s exchange for Webber is a blatant example of the curse that is plaguing Canadians. The real reason for this exchange is because Subban didn’t fit with the culture of the organization ” protecting the goalkeeper” and not an exchange we were made to believe for the well-being of the team.
We know what happened during the 2017 playoffs, Nashville, which had the goal to have the best team to win the cup and this same team was in the final of the Stanley Cup.
Instead of wanting to win the Stanley Cup with an army filled with talented soldiers, the Montreal Canadiens want to win it by stealing the cup with a goalkeeper in the net.
We must get out of this fate, because for 30 years, we have been bewitched by this mentality that prevents this team with such a rich history of evolving.
It’s time to evolve!
Signed Sab in collaboration with the 9-year-old boy in 1986 aka The Educated Fool ‘’my big brother.’’ We are ready for attacks.