With the Canadiens just five games away from season's end and Randy Cunneyworth's inability to turn this team around since his December 17th promotion, it's time to start taking these Patrick Roy rumors seriously. And, with the recent dismissal of Pierre Gauthier, one can only expects these rumors to intensify.
Speculation about St. Patrick's return have been swirling since Jacques Martin's departure and have picked up steam over the past two weeks, namely thanks to stories in The Globe and Mail and La Presse.
On one hand, there are a number of Montrealers who still feel betrayed by the Hall of Fame goaltender after his refusal to play another game as a Hab following an embarassing 11-1 drubbing at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings in 1995, a game in which Roy was beat nine times on 26 shots.
On the other hand, there are those who believe it would be fitting that Roy be given a chance to bring life to a franchise that has gone downhill since he last spoke to his posts in the Old Forum.
As my colleagues Kamal Panesar and Louis Moustakas discussed earlier this week, the issue is whether Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens can work the second time around.
Roy and the Media
Roy's Francophone background and number in the rafter's — not to mention the 1986 and 1993 Stanley Cup banners obtained in large part due to his stellar goaltending — seem to qualify him for the job in the eye's of the media.
In addition, I'm sure that the passionate and sometimes irate post game quotes he'll surely provide will be welcomed by the press after years of dealing with the often emotionless Jacques Martin.
Patrick Roy would be somewhat of a French-speaking John Torterella. You know, minus the NHL experience and Stanley Cup ring.
No Experience Coaching in NHL
Roy's lack of experience coaching at the NHL level is a huge turn off in the eyes of many, but he has done an impressive job behind the bench of the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL.
In his seven years as the Remparts' coach, Roy has a 307-138-32 record and, in 2006, became the seventh rookie coach to win the Memorial Cup.
While his lack of professional coaching experience Roy is a negative, there are no doubt a number of positives that St. Patrick could bring to the Canadiens.
For one thing, Roy is passionate. It's been too long since there has been a fiery coach behind the Habs bench willing to make his presence known.
In recent seasons, underachievers have rarely held accountable in Montreal, especially when it comes to ice time.
It would be interesting to see the minutes players like Scott Gomez or former Hab Mike Cammalleri would get under Roy's reign.
Roy, Subban and Price
Although the Canadiens could use some fire behind the bench, it's unsure whether Roy's temper would mesh well with the current roster.
Of particular concern are P.K. Subban and Carey Price.
Part of me worries that Roy's strong and stubborn personality may clash with Subban's outgoing ways.
Conversely, maybe Roy could relate to the cocky demeanor and high expectations that go along with P.K Subban.
Then there is Carey Price. Would he be affected, if at all, by having a Hall of Fame netminder behind the bench?
Would Roy let goalie coach Pierre Groulx have complete control over the Habs backstop or would he contribute his own two cents when it comes to the development of the Habs star goalie?
If Roy were to move in on Groulx's turf, it's unknown as to how Price and his calm, collected demeanor would deal with any outbursts that may come from the Habs legendary goalie.
If you ask me, I wouldn't mind having someone with Roy's success giving someone with Price's skill and maturity some pointers.
When all is said and done I'm torn when it comes to Patrick Roy returning to Montreal as head coach.
While I wouldn't mind having an experienced NHL coach behind the bench next year, I'm not completely opposed to welcoming a Montreal Canadiens alumni who almost single handedly won the team's last two championships.
What are your thoughts? Does experience outweigh history? Would Roy's temper bode well in the locker room? Or did Roy give up his chance to return to this franchise when he walked out on the team in '95?
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com. You can follow Sean on Twitter.
(Photo by Richard the Canadian Press)