The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Patrick Roy is Not the Greatest of All Time (and neither is your buddy Martin Brodeur)

October 10, 2008, by Homme De Sept-Iles

Montreal Mystique Numbers; the Charts, Graphs, Standard Deviations, Fractal Points and Icy Conclusions

Patrice (ck) Roy. Trente-Trois.

When Patrick Roy retired a number of sportswriters said that he was the greatest goalie of all time. A rather large number. Certain sports media members (and many fans) are susceptible to what we might call the “latest-greatest” phenomena and I found in 2003 that Patrick Roy was the latest in a succession of players thus annointed. Latest-greatest means that the most accomplished of a particular generation of players gets annointed as the “best-ever” by a large and rather loud contingent of current sportswriters who have only really seen one generation of a given sport.

In the eighties, my Sports Illustrated subscription taught me that Magic and Larry were the two best ballers ever. As the years went on and I was able to read even older Sports Illustrateds from the sixties and seventies and learned that this title of best ever had gone from George Mikan to Wilt and Bill to the Doctor and to Moses. In the nineties it went to Jordan. Was I to believe that Magic and Larry and all those who came before them could not compare to this latest? This greatest? I rather doubt the process of annointing was a scientific one. A process based on hard comparison, judicious viewing of film; interviewing of coaches and former opponents, of teammates and of other knowledgeable observers. No, it was, again, just the thoughtless passing of the torch.

I believe now that even Jordan will be forgotten (or at least not lavished with the lion’s praise) by a generation of fans and writers and by most who follow.

People, we’re getting old.

And Patrick Roy was not the greatest ever. He was just the latest-greatest (and even that is debatable).

Please refer to the chart below for elaboration. It’s a response to hearing/reading people going just a little overboard with the Patrick accolades. I wonder if he is even the best Montreal goaltender in hockey history let alone the NHL and world hockey competition (does anyone remember Vladislav Tretiak, for example?).

Let’s keep historic comments to ourselves and let the real historians evaluate the all-timers for us, shall we?

The Great Montreal Goaltenders

As an afterthought, it will be interesting to see who will fail to resist that urge to call goalie Martin Brodeur the “greatest ever” when the long-time New Jersey Devil finally hangs up the mask. Roy, who was off-putting to many in the press, will surely suffer in comparison if only for his perceived brittle personality. Brodeur, far more accomodating and polite, will have the good favour of certain media members on his side when the pseudo-historic evaluations begin.

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