Now, the Hall of Famer, four-time Stanley Cup champion and three-time Conn Smythe winner comes to Boston as the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. The Bruins host the Avs at 7:08 tonight at TD Garden.
This is his first season as a head coach in the NHL and the Avalanche are 3-0-0 at the start of the 2013-2014 season. Roy gained attention in his first game behind the bench when he erupted in the closing seconds of the team’s season-opening 6-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks.
He was unhappy with what he thought was a dangerous hit on one of his players and began shouting at Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. At one point, Roy was banging on the glass between the benches and it started to fall on Boudreau. Less than 24 hours after the incident, the NHL fined Roy $10,000.
After the Bruins’ morning skate, coach Claude Julien said jokingly: “I’ve spent the last couple of days solidifying the glass between the benches.”
Roy responded in similar fashion when asked about Julien’s comment.
“I don’t expect any problems with Claude Julien, to be honest with you,” Roy said. “I have so much respect for him. He’s a great coach. When you’re in the finals of the Stanley Cup two years of the last three, he certainly deserves a lot of credit and respect.”
Roy has spent the last eight seasons as head coach and general manager of the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. Julien also began his coaching career in juniors when he spent four seasons behind the bench of the Hull Olympiques between 1996 and 2000.
Roy admits there have been times when he’s called Julien to ask questions about coaching, which the Bruins coach has gladly obliged
“I respect that and I’m happy to see him be so successful here in Boston,” Roy said.
Returning to Boston as a coach, Roy admitted he’s experienced many special moments during his playing career here.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “Especially with Montreal, we played so many good games here. Most of my career with Montreal we were playing in the [old] Garden and it was a lot of great memories -- no doubt about it.”
Roy’s also impressed with the current Bruins roster, especially assistant captain and fellow Quebec native, Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s easy to appreciate Patrice Bergeron,” Roy said. “He’s been so good for the Bruins over the years. He’s a great two-way player and he brings a lot to the table for that organization there’s no doubt about it.”
During the NHL lockout a season ago, and before he went to play in Sweden, Bergeron skated with the Remparts.
“He didn’t want to be there because of the lockout situation, but at the same time he was so nice to our players. He’s such a generous player. He gave his time and helped our centers work on their faceoffs, he’s one of the best in the league in that area,” Roy said.
Bergeron had high praise for Roy, too.
“I have nothing but respect for Patrick,” Bergeron said. “He’s done amazing things in his career, and also after his career and also in his involvement in the community back home is special. I wish him all the best.”
When Roy retired following the 2002-2003 season with the Avalanche, he ended his playing career with the most regular-season wins (551) in NHL history, which is now second to the New Jersey Devils’ Martin Brodeur’s 669 wins.
Roy said he’s also impressed with how Tuukka Rask has developed in Boston.
“Rask has been really good for them. Last year he had a really good year and I guess a lot of people had some question marks after Tim Thomas, but I thought [Rask] responded really well,” Roy said.
When the puck drops tonight, the young Avalanche team will be competing against a bunch of “studs” as Colorado’s Matt Duchene described the Bruins. But the Bruins understand their opponent’s perfect record is no fluke.
“They’re the real deal,” Julien said. “They have some young guys turning the corner and they’re a real good skating team. Their forecheck is real aggressive and they’re a quick team. They went after Toronto pretty good. It’s going to be important we’re sharp in our puck movement and sharp moving our feet if we want to play well against these guys.”