Roy talks a good game

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

MONCTON -- Patrick Roy didn't say anything bad about anyone yesterday, possibly because he does not yet know in which direction he should spew his criticism.

But the co-owner/general manager/coach of the Quebec Remparts acknowledged following a news conference that much of what he has said this week at the Memorial Cup to tick off opponents has been thought out beforehand.

"Yes it has," Roy said when asked whether much of his yapping has been done to shift the spotlight off his club and on to himself. "We always try to do what is best for our team. At this particular time, it is what we thought we had to do. Our objective was going to the final and we are in the final."

Though it's insensitive to some and wrong to others, it's hard to question Roy's motives. His club is the only team here which did not win a major junior league championship but it's the only one which is guaranteed of playing in the Cup championship game on Sunday.

Each of the other three coaches have plenty of experience, and for the most part all have been diplomatic this week when discussing the other participants. Roy is not a year into his first coaching job yet he has shot from the hip and is in a better position than any of his colleagues. And if the Remparts win their first Cup since 1971, when Guy Lafleur was the team's captain, Roy said he gladly be back behind the bench.

But Roy fell back on a cliche when the topic of which team he would like to play on Sunday arose.

"I have too much respect for the teams that are still in to comment," Roy, 40, said. "I think they all deserve to be there. We know we are going to face a very good team."

There is little to argue with when one considers the source of Roy's cocky ways. A man who is considered among the best goalies to play hockey, if not the best, has earned the right to swagger. And to hear Roy tell it, he expected to be nowhere else but in the Cup title match.

"I remember one year, 1993, when (Montreal Canadiens coach) Jacques Demers came in and said we will shock the world of hockey by winning the Stanley Cup," Roy said. "We all turned and said, 'What is he talking about?' But we did it. He made us believe in ourselves.

"That's what I was trying to tell our players -- we will shock the world this year by trying to win the Memorial Cup. We didn't talk about (winning the Quebec league title). Saying (you're going to win the Memorial Cup) is creating belief and that's what you want your players to have."

For Roy, winning here would not be on par with his four Stanley Cup rings. But when he played junior for Granby and Sherbrooke in the early to mid-1980s, he did not get a chance to play for the Memorial Cup. So while coaching a team to a Cup in his first season would be impressive, he is making up for something that eluded him more than 20 years ago.

"When you are a kid, you play on the street, you are an NHL player and you make your own Stanley Cup," Roy said. "But for the junior level, this is the big prize."


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