Anyone wondering if becoming an NHL head coach added a modicum of sanity to Patrick Roy got a pretty resounding answer in the legendary former goaltender’s first game behind the Colorado Avalanche bench.
At the conclusion of Colorado’s season-opening 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, Roy got into a shouting/pointing match with Ducks counterpart Bruce Boudreau. And then things really got good.
Roy proceeded to shove the plexiglass partition between the two benches, which nearly collapsed onto Boudreau. Ducks player Corey Perry then stood up for his coach and volleyed it right back into Roy’s direction.
Game officials, who were already near the benches to clear up a post-horn scrum, took control of the situation and the flimsy partition.
It comes as little surprise that Roy’s coaching debut would have such a wild ending. Even by the extremely loose mental health standards of a hockey goalie, Roy has always been a loon. The man honest-to-God talked to the goalposts during games.
He famously imploded in his final game with Montreal, demanding a trade after being kept in the game until he surrendered nine goals in 26 shots. When he was with the Avalanche, he fought Red Wings goalies Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood in back-to-back seasons.
His career as a coach in Canada’s junior circuit was no less volatile. He once threw punches at the co-owner of an opposing team because fans were blocking Roy’s team from getting on their bus. He was suspended five games after an incident where he encouraged his son to fight the opposing goaltender, who was assaulted by the younger Roy despite declining the fight, which is considered a violation of hockey’s odd decorum.
With attendance declining in recent years, it’s no surprise the Avs turned to their biggest legend not named Joe Sakic to drum up fan interest. And after this debut, I’d expect the Pepsi Center to be filled on a pretty regular basis — at least until Roy’s first suspension.