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Patrick Roy has always been a character. Never mind how elite a goalie he was, when you ask Colorado Avalanche fans about their favorite Patrick Roy moment, it’s not usually a spectacular save that they mention. For this week’s Throwback Thursday, let’s look at one of those Patrick Roy moments.
During a routine game, with the Avalanche playing the New York Rangers — and losing 4-1 — the puck started coming Roy’s way with just three-and-a-half minutes left in the game. No one was in the Avalanche defensive zone, so Roy came out of his net to play the puck. Nothing too unusual about that — goalies do it all the time.
What Roy did next is not something goalies do all the time. As he approached the blue line, two Avalanche defensemen, one of them Adam Foote himself, came back to do their job and take over puck-moving.
Roy was having none of that. To the titillation of the announcers, he skated past his own defensemen, toe-dragged and then deked none other than Wayne Gretzky. As he approached the red line, two more Avalanche and a Ranger approached him. He effected a neat spin-o-rama to take him over center ice before finally allowing forward Adam Deadmarsh to take the puck from him.
As soon as Deadmarsh took possession, referee Paul Devorski blew his whistle. As Roy skated back toward his net, he gave a giant Gallic shrug to Devorski, clearly indicating he didn’t see the problem. However, Roy had earned a penalty — goalies are not allowed to carry the puck over center ice.
Laughing, the announcers stated that Patrick Roy had lost his mind. Devorski and even then-coach Marc Crawford tried to hide smiles.
Crawford later tried to rationalize that Roy lifted his stick while going over the red line, so that maybe he could argue he hadn’t carried it past center ice.
The goalie at the other end of the ice, Jose Theodore, had another explanation:
"“That’s Patrick. Patrick does things that he’s the only guy that could do it. I just couldn’t believe it — he looked pretty good.”"
Mile High Sticking author Will Agathis offered his own thoughts on Roy’s move:
"“It was a defining moment in the history of the Colorado Avalanche and the National Hockey League. Though not completely clear in the play, Roy was taking over the NHL as the league’s most talented and humorous, taking over a spot once held by Gretzky. Like Hulk Hogan lifting Andre the Giant, this work of art showed that an imposing figure does not always triumph and that the torch must be passed at some point. As soon as Gretzky left, Roy took over as the league’s funny man superstar.“If nothing else, it shows that Roy has better puck skills than Gretzky has defensive ability.”"
Goalies stopped The Great One in his time. However, Patrick Roy will go down in history as the only goalie who ever deked Gretzky.