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Let the Patrick Roy speculation begin Add to ...

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, turns out that Martin Leclerc of Radio-Canada.ca and NHL.com is the first off the mark with news that a deal is done between the Montreal Canadiens and former Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy that will see the fiery Quebec Remparts owner/coach/GM take over the Habs' reins next fall.

Leclerc framed it rather cheekily as an open letter to the Remparts players here, and has said in follow-up interviews that he has at least two reliable sources saying Roy will coach the Habs next year.

There has been the predictable rush to slap down the scoop, and St. Patrick himself took to the airwaves in Quebec City to issue a denial that carefully skirts the meat of Leclerc's assertions: namely that Habs owner Geoff Molson has reached out to Roy, and that a deal is done, at least in principle, to re-join his former team.

Presumably this is a Clintonian moment where everything hinges on what the meaning of "is" and "done" are.

Here's our two cents worth on the subject: Roy ticks all the boxes for the Habs, he's a bilingual Francophone, he's an adored alumnus, he's a living link to the last Cup conquest, he's done good things in junior, with gusts to great. But he's also got maybe the shortest fuse in the history of coaching, and it's debatable that his tempest-in-a-suit-jacket act will translate well to the pros.

It would arguably make more sense to hand Roy the keys to the organization by making him vice-president of hockey operations or general-manager, a role he has thrived in for the Remparts - Roy evidently has a keen eye for talent and the ruthlessness required to bring it on board (and by the way, all this talk can't be seen as anything else than another signal the GM's job in Montreal is about to be vacated by Pierre Gauthier).

And what of all the Curse of the Bambino undertones? The Habs have basically been on an uninterrupted downward slide since the man French-speaking teammates and journalists used to call "Casseau" was shipped out of town in 1995; team and former player took the first step toward reconciliation when it came time to retire his No. 33, maybe bringing him back in an official capacity will appease the Forum ghosts further.

Either way, it says here that Roy will probably be employed in one role or another at the Bell Centre this fall, given the paucity of other candidates who fit the same profile.

All that really remains to be determined is the title on the business card.

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