Hey, a guy needs an occasional jolt of over-the-counter energy to maintain the pace Roy set this summer. All those promotions and golf tournaments, answering the bags of mail, signing the autographs for kids waiting outside his apartment or his family's home in Quebec City. These are busy times.
"I have my two feet on the ground," he says in English, a language in which he is only beginning to feel comfortable. "I know this is all a dream. I understand that. So I lived with my family this summer, and I have the same friends. We still do the same things we've always done: play deck hockey, softball.... It's important not to change.
"I don't want to be a one-year player. I want to have a long, successful career. And the way to do that is to not forget how you got successful in the first place. I once asked [35-year-old defenseman] Larry Robinson, 'How do you stay excited after all this time? How do you stay interested with all the games and all the travel?' And he said, 'Every game is something new, like the start to a career, so it never gets boring.' "
Roy is also aware of the bleak histories of flashy young goalies who have preceded him. His new goaltending partner, Brian Hayward, whom the Canadiens acquired from Winnipeg for Steve Penney, is an example. In 1984-85, Hayward finished second in the NHL with 33 victories as the Jets vaulted from 12th to fourth in the overall standings. Last season he—and the Jets—were a disaster. Hayward won only 13 games and had a 4.79 goals-against average, as the Jets sank 37 points to 18th in the standings.
Ominously, Hayward is—if anything—the rule rather than the exception. NHL rosters are loaded with hot young goalies who came up against the sophomore jinx. Among them are Minnesota's Don Beaupre (who had a 3.20 goals-against average his rookie season but soared to 3.71 the following year); Edmonton's Grant Fuhr (3.31, 4.29); Los Angeles's Bob Janecyk (3.66, 4.67); and, closer to home, Penney (3.08, 4.36).
"Except for [former Soviet goalie] Vladislav Tretiak, I've never seen a goaltender really mature and reach a constant level and stay there before the age of 26 or 27," says Glenn Hall, who is now a goalie coach with Calgary. "It is so mental, and preparation is so important.... It all takes years to learn."
The most vivid example of goalie burnout is Mike Moffat, who at 20 was the Boston Bruins' playoff hero in 1982. But after only 13 games the next season, with his goals-against average a dismal 4.37, Moffat was sent down to the minors. In 1984 he tried out with Edmonton, but later that year he quit hockey to pursue a business degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. "The game wasn't fun," Moffat says. "There was pressure and fear. I wasn't enjoying it, so I got out." This past summer Moffat gave it one more chance and tried out for the Canadian Olympic team. He made the squad, but only as a backup, so he has decided to return to his studies.
"If you're young and you do well it's a bonus; it's not expected," says Dryden. "But the next year you're judged on different standards. You've got to give even more. And it takes a little time and some growing up to understand that. That's why so many guys stutter-start. I think Roy will be all right. I hope, for his sake, that he's ready."
The Montreal morning throws open its arms with brilliant, late-summer sunshine. But down in Roy's one-bedroom apartment, only hints of light peek through the blinds. The view through the window is of the front lawn staring back at you at eye level. It's a terrific apartment—if you're a mole.
"I like the dark," Roy says while making breakfast, which is to say, opening a box of doughnuts. "Better for the concentration." Roy, who has a moonlighting gig as a part-time veejay on the Canadian equivalent of MTV, allows as how he loves Madonna, but clearly this is no Material Guy. His apartment is spare; its walls are painted in all-purpose whites and off-whites and are virtually bare, the carpet is light gray, the furniture black. Bland it is, House Beautiful it isn't. It costs Roy $325 a month Canadian ($235 U.S.), so even though Montreal paid him an estimated bargain-basement $80,000 Canadian as a rookie (upgraded to an estimated $95,000), Roy is not exactly spending with both hands.