These must be difficult, trying times for old friend Patrick Roy.
I mean, his Colorado Avalanche are performing a face plant, his goaltenders are landing in sick bay so frequently that the long-retired legend is one owie away from listing himself third on the team depth chart, and then there's this latest development—he awoke this morning to discover that he is no longer God.
Moreover, he did not invent hockey.
We know this to be true because Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau has told us it is so.
This, of course, is news to no one other than the face that stares back at Roy when he gazes into the mirror. Seriously. Patrick Roy? God? Non, mes amis. Jean Beliveau est Dieu. Saint Patrick doesn't even sit at Le Gros Bill's right hand side. That spot is reserved for the Rocket, not a goaltender who quit on Les Glorieux.
Still, contrary to logic and lore, Roy has spent much of his adult life passing himself off as Hockey Almighty, creator of the puck, the blueline and the pre-game meal.
Perhaps his deity complex was borne of the nickname Saint Patrick, bestowed on him by the faithful who genuflected toward his genius when two springtimes of puck-stopping miracles supplied the foundation for a pair of Stanley Cup-winning crusades by the Habs.
Whatever the case, I now fear the fallout. The Roy temper, after all, is as legendary as his goaltending achievements. He is a man given to moments of volcanic carriage. His fuse is shorter than a Winnipeg summer. So this de-deification by Parenteau surely will cause the Colorado coach to swallow hard. Now that P.A.'s words have arrived at Saint Patty's saintly ears and settled in his brain pan, he's apt to become unhinged. You know, like go to his home in Mile High Denver and rip a couple of doors from their anchors. Unless he reserves that sort of rage for domestic tiffs.
All I know is this: If I were Patrick Roy's house, I would fear for my doors.
That aside, those of us who have long held that the former Canadiens backstop is a mere mortal are left to ponder the heft of P.A. Parenteau's testimony about Roy. It is one thing, after all, to defrock a false god, but we now must have clarification on the National Hockey League's holy order.
We know Big Beliveau is, in fact, God. Oh, I suppose those laughable losers in Toronto would submit that Teeder Kennedy, Darryl Sittler, Dave Keon or (ugh) Borje Salming is God. But no. Jean Beliveau is God. That, however, doesn't mean he invented hockey. He merely perfected it. (Actually, Bobby Orr perfected it, but he played for the Boston Bruins, thus he's deity/creator ineligible.)
Hockey was actually invented by Frank Selke Sr. and Sam Pollock.
Any arguments? Didn't think so.
Who else could it possibly be? For those of you who haven't been keeping score at home, those two men created three dynasties. In three different decades—the 1950s, the '60s and the '70s. They created an organization whose success was paralleled in North American professional sports only by baseball's New York Yankees and basketball's Boston Celtics. Selke Sr. and sly Sam collected NHL championships like Tiger Woods collects blondes. They created Jean Beliveau. Dickie Moore. Jacques Plante. Doug Harvey. Henri Richard. Guy Lafleur. Ken Dryden. Yvan Cournoyer. Larry Robinson. Serge Savard. Jacques Lemaire. Steve Shutt. Bob Gainey. Scotty Bowman.
One year shrewd Sam decided to do a bit of freelance work, so he broke away from his duties generally managing les Canadiens to bring together the greatest gathering of shinny talent ever. That would be Canada's winning entry in the 1976 Canada Cup, a roster that included 17 future Hockey Hall of Fame players, a HofF head coach in Bowman and, of course, a Hall of Fame GM, shifty Sam himself.
Apparently, P.A. Parenteau didn't mention any of this during his chin-wag with La Presse, but he didn't have to. We all know Jean Beliveau is God and Frank Selke Sr. and Sam Pollock invented hockey.
Patrick Roy will simply have to settle for sainthood. He can keep the halo.