After suffering a heartbreaking defeat last year, in the last game of the semi-final series against the Shawinigan Cataractes, all hopes are allowed for the Red Devils.
A new season begins, but it seems difficult to me not to have in mind the end of the last season. Is this the case for you?
patrick roy : Of course we will learn from our last season, but we will put it behind us. It’s no use living with it. I think we have to make the turn, we are there. I am convinced that our players learned a lot from that season. I think we’re going to grow from some games we’ve played, especially in the playoffs. I think it makes our group better. I approach this season with a lot of optimism.
You’ve probably experienced it as a player, what effect does a loss like the one suffered against Shawinigan have on a hockey player?
PR : I think mentalities have changed a bit. Everyone was very disappointed, but it seems that today’s young people have an easier time making the switch than those of my time. And so it is. It will be interesting to see how we will behave at the start of the season. Of course we are missing a lot of players, we have seven players who are currently in professional camps, it will be different for us.
Unless there is a surprise, you will have to work with the same players as last season. Do you feel like you’re going back to where you were last year?
PR : You have to find a balance. We must not neglect those who arrive, but we must not put those who were there last year to sleep either. We still have to come back to certain details, certain structures that we used at the team tactical level, our forecheck, our zone defense, our defensive withdrawals, and so on. You always have to backtrack. Summer, guys forget.
Are there any weaknesses within your team?
PR : We love our team, we love the depth in front of the net, the depth in defense and attack. We are also eager to see how our young people will progress and the responsibilities they will be able to take on in a year where, unfortunately for them, we are perhaps less here for development, but more to try to seek great honours. I like where we are right now, but I think that during the trading period, we will have decisions to make.
Some have said that your outing against the quality of officiating in the circuit is a distraction for your team. Is that the case?
PR : Yes, it was a distraction. But, now, I think we have to put it aside and we have to move on. I too have to move on. I remember our series against Detroit when I was in Colorado. We had lost our focus, we lived a lot on the past. When we accepted the past, we became better. That’s what I want to see from our band and myself.
Last year, you felt the need to enlist the support of supporters who were having their ears pulled. What do you think has changed for you to need to make that call?
PR : It’s a mix of things. First, we are in a different amphitheater, more expensive inside perhaps than it was at the Colosseum. Also, the team may not have performed as well as people would have liked in previous years. We have extraordinary people in Quebec, who love hockey. I’m glad to see the support people gave us, it was very much appreciated. The atmosphere we had during the last game against Shawinigan was magical. It is sure that we still need people, they are very important in the success of a team.
In closing, the question everyone is asking: is this your last season behind the Remparts bench?
PR : It’s a strong possibility. I try to be careful in my comments. When we hired Simon Gagné [comme adjoint], it was in order to allow him to see where he fits in there and if he has the taste to become head coach of the team. If Simon has a lot of fun and he wants to live the adventure, at the end of the season, then it will be easier for me to give him my place. For now, I remain cautious. Do I think Simon is starting to enjoy it? I think so. He’s starting to feel better and better on the rink. He is very intelligent, he observes. I feel that he is more and more involved and it is good for our organization. If he feels ready, why not!
And if so, will you still stay with the Remparts?
PR : Yes. I like the role of general manager. I would tell you that in the short term, it’s something that I would like, that’s for sure.