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Islanders: Patrick Roy wants to keep the spotlight on his players

Patrick Roy saw it snowing. And no, we’re not talking about the weather cocktail that has hit Montreal since Wednesday evening.

Roy was back at the Bell Center on Thursday as head coach of the opposing team for the first time since November 14, 2015. The former star goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens said he had no particular memories of the three meetings. which he led at the Bell Center behind the Colorado Avalanche bench.

He did everything possible to avoid finding himself at the heart of history when the New York Islanders visited on Thursday.

“I’m focusing on the match and I told the players that it’s not a match that concerns me,” Roy said at a press conference before the match. It’s a match that concerns my team. We are currently in a battle for the series. ”

Roy nevertheless admitted that it was always special for him to return to the Bell Centre, where a banner with his number 33 floats high above the amphitheater.

“Whether it’s Montreal or Colorado, when you’ve won the Stanley Cup twice for each team, it always means a lot,” Roy said.

“It’s certainly nice to be in these environments,” he added.

Having always kept a certain sense of humor and a penchant for self-deprecation, Roy made his court laugh when he was asked whether he would at least let himself experience the emotions when the crowd greeted his presence.

“I’ve always tried to do that, but it never really worked well for me,” he said, referring to his sometimes hot temper. I am an intense person who likes to win and wants to focus on the things to do. ”

A photo montage retracing some of Roy’s great moments with the Canadian was broadcast on the giant screen during the Canadian national anthem. That was all it took for a loud ovation to begin.

Roy was also shown on the screen before the initial puck drop. He briefly greeted the crowd before starting to dig through his notes again.

Since he wanted to focus on the Islanders, whom he has led since his surprise appointment on Saturday, Roy spoke of the accelerated learning of his group.

The Islanders won their first game under Roy, beating the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime on Sunday. They then lost 3-2 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Before facing the Canadian, they were two points behind the Detroit Red Wings and the last place giving access to the playoffs in the Eastern Association.

“I told the players that in their previous game in Las Vegas, they gave them over six minutes of possession in our zone. In our last home game, we limited them to 2:35, Roy said. For me, this is great progress and we want to continue on this path. ”

Roy was also asked about comments from Ottawa Senators owner Michael Andlauer, who said Wednesday during a radio interview that he “regretted a little bit” not having hired Roy as head coach. Roy avoided the question by saying he was happy to work for Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders.

Lamoriello, president of hockey operations and general manager of the Islanders, likely made a strong impression on Roy.

“It’s very easy to get attached to him. He is a very generous person and he wants to allow me to lead the team my way, which I really appreciate,” Roy said of the 81-year-old hockey man.

“We are lucky to have Jacques Lemaire and Lou in our organization,” he added. I am lucky to have two mentors like them. I think it will help me grow as a coach and as a hockey person. I feel privileged to find myself in this position. ”

And if he wants to keep the spotlight largely on his players, Roy will have to maintain the same composure as these two great men of hockey.

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