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Allaire: Roy wanted to be the best


Editor's Note: Francois Allaire was Patrick Roy's goalie coach during his formative years in Montreal and helped Roy refine the butterfly style. Now the goaltending consultant for Jean-Sebastien Giguere and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Allaire recalls his time with Roy in a conversation with ESPN's Darren Pang.

It's always surprising when you see a guy of this caliber decide to retire. But I think if you take his decision, it's probably family-wise and personally the right time to do it, and I think everyone has to respect that.

There have been a lot of memories of course in 12 years, but I think I'll always remember the first time when he arrived with the Sherbrooke Canadiens of the American Hockey League. He just jumped on the ice and started to stop the puck. He had a lot of energy and a lot of determination.

During the playoffs, we had to put him in the net because the other guy was injured, and you know, he just took the spot and won the (Calder) Cup, and he was just 19 years old. That was fabulous. The year after that, he jumped to the NHL and won the Stanley Cup in 1986. You cannot ask for better than that for a goaltender starting in the NHL, or in the pros.

Our relationship started that year when I was in Sherbrooke. At the end of the season (1984-85), Patrick didn't make the playoffs, so he joined the American League. Patrick was a young kid coming up, like Stephane Richer, all those kids were finishing their junior careers and were coming to the pro teams. And they helped us go later into the playoffs and that was fabulous for the organization.

A guy of his caliber is used to playing a lot of games each season and a lot of games in the playoffs, and it is probably tough for him to feel he's not able to do what he feels in his head that he should do. I'm sure mentally he's still strong enough to do it. Maybe for him he doesn't feel he's 100 percent. He's a guy who wants to win; he wants to be the best guy.

When you look at the records he's set over the last few years, what is really amazing is how good he's been for a very long period of time. He's never had a bad season, maybe a couple of games. He was always sharp, always battling, always at the top of his game, always tough in the playoffs and almost never injured.

It's tremendous what he's done consistency-wise. He started being No.1 right off the bat. He didn't wait until he was 26 or 27; right at 20, he was No. 1. That's a long period of time. And when you see that, you realize it's incredible what he's achieved in the NHL.

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