All eyes will be on Patrick Roy Tuesday night on his return to the Bell Centre as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
“It will be a different atmosphere in the building tonight with Patrick’s return,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Brossard after Tuesday’s morning skate. “We’ll likely have a very competitive game between the two teams. It shows at what point Patrick is passionate about hockey and about coaching. He could’ve chosen a different road to get there, but the fact that he worked with kids for years (with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts), in my eyes, I respect him a lot for that.”
“I think it’s going to be great. I expect it to be great,” Roy told an overflow news conference Monday at the Bell Centre.
In 2012, a French-language Montreal newspaper ran a poll asking fans who they would like to most see fill the vacant positions as general manager and head coach. Roy finished first for each position.
“Two years ago, I was (fans’) No. 1 for coach and GM,” Roy said. “I could have had both jobs if it was voted by fans. I truly appreciate that. I thought that was a great gesture, for them to give me that opportunity to be on top. That made me feel good with the fans.
“It’s not that I had doubt, but at the same time it was nice to see that the past was way behind us and everybody had moved on. They could see me as their next coach or GM. For the ego, I have to admit, that felt good.”
Said Roy about his days playing in Montreal, including Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 1993: “It helped me to become the person I am. Not only the person I am, but also the player I was. The leaders we had at the time: Robinson, Gainey, Tremblay, Carbonneau, Chelios and on and on, you could draw a list of players who were outstanding leaders. I learned a lot from every one of them. Even the coaches we had, I could say easily I learned a lot from them as well.”
The Avalanche has a 21-9-2 record this season on the road and sits in second place in the Central Division with a 44-19-5 record for 93 points, 12 more than the Canadiens (37-25-7).
Carey Price will be back in goal for the Canadiens against the Avalanche, making his second start since recovering from a lower-body injury suffered at the Sochi Olympics. Price has an 0-2-1 record with a 3.61 goals-against average in three career games against Colorado. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will start in goal for the Avalanche.
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked for the Canadiens at Tuesday’s morning skate:
(Photo by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)