He's the enemy!

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

DENVER -- The Edmonton Oilers and Patrick Roy have a long history, and most of it isn't very friendly.

Through hard-fought divisional battles and a pair of memorable playoff series - Roy sent them packing in five games in 1997 and the Oilers roared back from a 3-1 series deficit to turf the Avs in 1998 - he's been an enemy of the franchise for a long time.

IN THE WRONG ROOM

So anyone looking for players to wax poetic about the great man on the day of his Hall of Fame induction was in the wrong dressing room.

The Oilers didn't like him then, and the feelings haven't changed much now, two and a half years after his retirement.

Asked if he had any Patrick memories he wanted to share, head coach Craig MacTavish thought for about 10 seconds and said "Not really.''

Asked why Roy was so hard to beat, Ryan Smyth joked: "He cheated. He had those cheaters (on his equipment). He had an extra big jersey with webs under the arms. He cheated.''

Smyth, of course, admits there was more to it than that.

"He was really good, in all seriousness. He was really square to the puck.''

Touching stuff.

But as MacTavish points out, it's better to be great and disliked than average and loved.

"It's further example that you can't play a friendly game, and he never did,'' said MacTavish.

"He was confident, arrogant, interpret it however you want, but at the end of the game you were always upset with him, and that's the sign of a competitor.

"There's a lot of guys in today's game who are content to play a really good, friendly game. That's not how you win. He got under the skin, and a lot of times that's tough to do for a goaltender.

"That's an indication of the competitiveness he had. He was brash and he played on a good team. I'm sure the people in Colorado interpret it as confidence and the opposition interprets it as arrogance. Nevertheless it's a sign of the competitive fire he had to play the game.

"It's taken me, what's he been out of the game for, two and a half years, so I can finally say something complimentary, and I hope he would feel the same way.''

Roy rubbed a lot of his opponents the wrong way, and still does as a coach in Major Junior. Former NHLer Ray Ferraro, who's third on the list of all-time leading scorers against Roy with 17, remembers them as 17 extremely satisfying moments.

"For me it was enjoyable scoring on him,'' grinned the SportsNet analyst.

"You knew he was burning after every goal you scored on him, so I enjoyed it a lot.''

But at the end of the day, they all admit that Roy had as much substance as style.

"He was the best goalie ever to play the game for one reason,'' said Avs defenceman Ian Laperriere.

"He challenged himself every night and he responded to that challenge. You hear players saying stuff here and there, but they don't back it up. If he said something, and he'd often say something, he backed it up every single time.''

NOT THERE TO SHARE

In an unfortunate bit of scheduling, the Avs played the same night Roy went into the Hall, so they couldn't even be there to share it with him.

"It's a special night for Patrick, I would have liked to have been there,'' said Colorado coach Joel Quenneville, an assistant with the Avs for their first championship in 1996.

"Patrick was a huge influence in this organization and our team. For me, as a young coach, I definitely learned a lot from Patrick. He was definitely one of the most influential reasons we won a Cup that year. I'm happy for him.''


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