Roy, Latendresse in war of words

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:01 PM ET

Normally, the Montreal Canadiens welcome input from their famous alumni.

But in the case of Patrick Roy, the club would have preferred their newly minted Hall of Fame goalie kept his opinions to himself this week.

Roy angered the club and rookie Guillame Latendresse in particular this week by mocking the latter's first goal by way of questioning the team's true intentions for keeping a 19-year-old on the roster. Until recently, Latendresse had been playing a bit part on the club, for what Roy has hinted could be a publicity stunt for the benefit of French Canadian fans.

Roy, head coach of the junior Quebec Remparts, thinks Latendresse would be better served playing full time in the QMJHL in Drummondville. Others wonder if Roy has designs on Latendresse in a possible trade.

SARCASTICALLY

On Tuesday, when Latendresse scored his first NHL goal against Edmonton in place of injured top-line winger Chris Higgins, Roy sarcastically told reporters that he "couldn't believe Latendresse had actually touched the puck."

Latendresse, who almost made the Habs out of camp last year, thought he was sticking up for the club by engaging Roy through the press, claiming that he "never liked" Roy as a young fan. He insisted he was showing more maturity as a teen in this instance than Roy, 41, was showing as an adult.

Stunned by the rebuke, Roy went on a province-wide media blitz on Thursday saying he was only joking about Latendresse's goal and that he was motivated to speak out only by a desire to see a young player properly develop. Roy then turned his guns on the Canadiens' public relations department for allowing Latendresse to be embroiled in the controversy in the first place.

All parties will have a chance to patch things up this weekend during Hall of Fame celebrations. Roy, who will be inducted Monday night, will be on the ice with Latendresse and his mates for the official faceoff of the Maple Leafs-Canadiens game at the Air Canada Centre tonight.

Coach Guy Carbonneau wasn't happy that his old friend Roy ignited the controversy, but is attempting to play peacemaker with a big Northeast Division game this evening. The Habs have eight wins, three losses and three shootout losses, one at the hands of the Leafs.


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