We’ve been talking about the potential return of Patrick Roy to the NHL since he led the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup back in May.
On Saturday afternoon, the New York Islanders made a change behind the bench, and Patrick Roy is getting another shot in the NHL.
Lane Lambert is out, and Roy, the greatest goaltender to ever play for the Colorado Avalanche (or in the NHL, for that matter), is in. He’ll have at least one familiar face with him on the Islanders, as Semyon Varlamov is their backup goaltender. Roy, of course, coached the Avalanche from 2013-2016, and Varlamov was his starting netminder.
Things didn’t exactly end well for Roy in Colorado. After an incredibly fun first season behind the bench where he led the Avalanche to first in their division, things went downhill pretty quickly. They missed the playoffs in his final two seasons behind the bench. In August of 2016, he abruptly resigned as Head Coach of the Avalanche, leaving the team to search for a new Head Coach just a month from training camp. Joe Sakic ended up hiring Jared Bednar to replace Roy, which ultimately worked out in Colorado’s favor after a tough first year.
Back in June, Roy reflected on his resignation from Colorado, noting that he realized you can’t lead a team and be in management at the same time.
“I know I made some bad choices,” Roy said. “I know the way I left, everything I did, could have an effect on today’s perspective on myself. I have to live with that. I know that I’ve learned from my mistakes. The past is the past but sometimes, you have to live with your past. I understand the situation.”
After resigning, Roy stepped away from coaching for a little bit, only to return to the Remparts in 2018. Last season, they dominated the QMJHL on their way to a Memorial Cup Championship.
Roy’s name has been linked to teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators, but at no point was he ever linked to the Islanders. His return to the NHL is hardly a surprise, but the team he’s headed to might be.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion will begin his run as Islanders Head Coach on Tuesday, when they host the Dallas Stars. That means Roy will coach against Matt Duchene in his first game back behind an NHL bench, and nobody forgets his epic rant about Duchene after a late-season loss in his final season behind the Avalanche bench.
I, for one, am excited to see Roy back in the NHL. Everything is a little more fun with him around. The fit with Lou Lamoriello is a strange one on the surface, so it’ll be interesting to see how they work together.
Sadly, Roy won’t coach in Denver this season, as the Islanders have already made their one visit to Ball Arena. Avalanche fans will have to wait until next season to see Roy behind the bench in-person again.
Unless the Avalanche and Islanders meet in the Stanley Cup Finals, that is.