SI Flashback: Stanley Cup 1993
Montreal over Los Angeles in five games
Conn Smythe winner: Patrick Roy, Montreal
In a final series to remember, Montreal Canadien goalie Patrick Roy helped deliver both the Cup and his first daughter
By E.M. Swift
What had he been thinking? Deep into overtime in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals on June 7, with the Los Angeles King forwards literally knocking at his goalmouth, Roy stoned Luc Robitaille and froze the puck. Then, impishly, he glanced at the Kings' Tomas Sandstrom and flicked his left eyelash, like some kid in a street hockey game. This amused, unharried wink was surely one of the most memorable in hockey history. What did this outrageous gesture mean?
That Roy was cocky? That he was loose? That the puck looked as big to him as a manhole cover? That the snakebitten Kings, who had already suffered two straight backbreaking overtime losses to the Canadiens and were about to suffer their third, could play till Sunset Boulevard froze over and never poke the puck past Roy in OT? ...
With a 16-4 record and a 2.13 goals-against average in the playoffs, Roy atoned for what had been, for him, a mediocre regular season under first-year coach Jacques Demers, who had introduced Montreal to a more wide-open style than the Canadiens had played in recent years. "The one thing as a coach I'll take credit for," said Demers after the playoffs, "is I stood with Patrick. I was not going to let him get down on himself after he gave up a soft goal against Quebec. He was just outstanding, sensational." ...
Roy, who lives in the Montreal suburb of Rosemere, was troubled by a poll taken in January by a local paper in which a majority of the respondents thought he should be traded. Those rumblings increased when the Canadiens dropped the first two games to Quebec in the Adams Division semifinals, and Roy's critics could point out that he had allowed soft goals in both defeats. NORDIQUES WIN GAME, BATTLE OF GOALIES read one headline. The subhead added, (Quebec goalie Ron) HEXTALL GETS BETTER OF ROY.
Demers resisted calls to start backup Andre Racicot in Game 3 and stayed true to a preseason promise that he would stand behind Roy all season. Ever superstitious, Roy figured it was time to change his luck. He switched the order in which he skated around the face-off circles before warming up, a ritual he had faithfully followed for seven years ...
The Canadiens, and Roy, reeled off a record-tying 11 consecutive playoff wins. Seven of them came in overtime, including two marathon victories over the New York Islanders, who saw Roy thwart both Benoit Hogue and Pierre Turgeon on breakaways in consecutive OT games.
Roy credited, of all people, former Islander great Mike Bossy for having given him a tip on how to play breakaways. "It was two years ago, and one day he said to me that on breakaways you must protect the five-hole," says Roy, referring to the triangle between the legs, "because if a guy has to go top shelf (high), he misses most of the time."
As the playoffs progressed it seemed as if the Canadiens actually played for overtime, repeatedly dumping the puck in the last 10 minutes of the third period and then turning their offense loose in the extra frame. "We didn't mind going into overtime," says Roy. "I knew my teammates were going to score goals if I gave them some time. My concentration was at such a high level. My mind was right there. I felt fresh, like I could stop everything."
Fresh? Every other new father who has been through natural childbirth feels like going home and sleeping for 40 days. Here was Roy, at the end of the longest hockey season on record, shuttling between Los Angeles and Montreal, cities 2,500 miles apart, in the Stanley Cup finals, saying how wonderfully rested he felt. Winking at the opposition to prove it. Tired, Tomas? Not me.
His presence in goal seemed to sap the energy from the Kings as much as it buoyed the Canadiens, who played better and better as the finals progressed. "When Patrick Roy makes a promise, he keeps it," said Montreal forward Mike Keane after the Canadiens, in a bit of historical justice, took home the 100th Stanley Cup with a dominating 4-1 win at home in Game 5. "He isn't an outspoken guy, but he said he was going to shut the door tonight, and he did."
In the wink of an eye.
They said it ..."Always Sandstrom is in my crease, bothering me, hitting at me when I have the puck," Roy (pronounced WAH) said. "When I made the save on Robitaille, Sandstrom hit me. So I winked. I wanted to show him I'd be tough. That I was in control."
Issue date: June 21, 1993