Patrick Roy has had, by all accounts, an outstanding debut season with the Colorado Avalanche. He became the fifth rookie coach in NHL history to win 50 games in a season, and the Avs matched their franchise records in wins (52) and points (112).
He also has the uncanny ability to provide the media a great story just by opening his mouth, and he can’t leave the QMJHL behind. Patrick coached, ran and owned the Remparts for eight seasons from 2005 to last year.
Wednesday, in a scrum a day before his Colorado Avalanche were about to open their first round matchup against the Minnesota Wild, Roy was asked about what the Halifax Mooseheads were able to do to defeat Roy’s Remparts in 2012 after falling to Quebec 3-0 in games.
Roy simply said, “Bad goaltending!”
The Remparts took the first three games of the second round series against the Halifax Mooseheads in 2012, before they dropped the next four games 2-1, 3-2, 5-2, and 5-4 in overtime in Game 7 to lose the series. Cam Critchlow scored four goals in game seven to eliminate the Remparts.
That prompted a response on twitter from Louis Domingue, Roy's netminder in that 2012 series.
@kathleenlavoie Bravo à patrick roy encore une fois ! Quel acte de classe. Je suis capable de prendre le blâme quand le chapeau me fait 1/2
— Louis Domingue (@domingue35) April 17, 2014
@kathleenlavoie Patrick roy m'intimidait verbalement jour après jour.Jamais cherché à maider.De loin unedes pire personne que j'ai rencontré
— Louis Domingue (@domingue35) April 17, 2014
Basically, to translate, Domingue says sarcastically that Patrick is a "class act" and follows it up by saying he is capable of taking blame when it’s deserved, but it’s been three years since it happened. “Patrick Roy verbally intimidated me day after day,” Domingue tweeted. “He never tried to help me. By far one of the worst people I’ve ever met.” Domingue further tweeted that he wishes the Avalanche well in the playoffs, and that he harbours no ill will towards the team or his teammates, it is simply his opinion on the man.
Domingue expands further in radio interview
Thursday morning, Domingue conducted an interview with FM93 in Quebec, where he expanded further, despite not wanting to open up the dressing room atmosphere from his time in Quebec for all to see.
“Was it [directed at me]? I don’t think so," Domingue said. "I’m not the only goaltender who had trouble playing [in Quebec under Patrick]. I won’t name names. What happens in the room stays in the room, I have to respect that.”
Domingue, who played parts of three seasons in Quebec, with a Remparts record of 69-28-4, said he was very excited to be traded to the Remparts in 2010.
“I was 17 or 18 years old,” he said. “Imagine being a goaltender at 17, to be coached by a legend like Patrick Roy and for him to have your back? I remember being so excited to arrive in Quebec and to have the chance to be coached by him. Sadly, I didn’t get any of the help I needed. […] I haven’t seen a lot of [former] goalies talk about their goalies in the media.”
Domingue not the only netminder to speak out
Quickly after that, Domingue received some twitter support from Peter Delmas, himself a Remparts goaltender around the same time.
Domingue is in his second professional season in the Phoenix Coyotes organization. He was a highly touted goaltending prospect when he was picked by the Moncton Wildcats in the 2008 QMJHL draft. He spent most of this season with the AHL's Portland Pirates, also spending time with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL.
Delmas spent half of his overage year with the Remparts in 2010 and was traded to Halifax. He’s spent the last four seasons in a few minor pro leagues, peaking with a handful of starts with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL. He’s spent some time with Domingue with the Gladiators this season.
Legends can’t always teach like they played
It is not uncommon for legendary players to go back to coaching and not be able to handle certain aspects of the job. It’s not surprising for Patrick Roy, arguably the best goaltender in the history of the sport, to have certain expectations on the position. It’s alos not surprising that Patrick, one of the most intense players to ever play the sport, is as intense against his own players. It’s hard to switch it on and off. However, it doesn’t make Patrick look good.
It might make some sense though. Other than Cedrick Desjardins, who led the Remparts to the 2006 Memorial Cup after being acquired prior to the season, the Remps had a cast of talented but not quite star netminders until Patrick’s tenure this season. Goaltenders such as Domingue and Delmas, Kevin Desfossés and now the unsigned Ottawa Senators sixth-round pick François Brassard lead to a goalie graveyard in Quebec. Is Domingue on to something?
Roy never had a losing record as a coach in any season in Quebec, but at what cost? Roy’s record of player development is not sterling. He can get teams to play well as a unit, but what happens afterwards? Roy's coaching style works better at the professional level, where he can be intense on players who have already developed thick skin. Junior players, as young as 16, are still kids in every sense of the word.
There’s also the expectation that a great player is always a great coach. That is not always the case. Wayne Gretzky was a middling coach with the Phoenix Coyotes. Ted Williams, legendary Red Sox slugger, never managed a Major League Baseball team into the playoffs. Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan also flopped as NBA coaches, although Larry Bird guided the Indiana Pacers to a league final in 2000.
Roy has thrived in producing winning teams, but is he that great a coach? We can’t answer that without seeing the practices, being in the dressing room, and being on the ice as he coached. Some legendary players can't understand how other players can't see the game like they can, or how they don't have the same talent or work ethic. They never needed it to be taught, most of the time, so they don't know how to teach it themselves.
These comments shed some more light on the situation and how Patrick Roy conducted business as coach, and it isn't a pretty sight.
(Stick tap: Christine Roger, Yahoo! Quebec; @ChristineRoger.)