Patrick Roy of the Islanders He was the only person

Patrick Roy of the Islanders: “He was the only person we wanted,” mentions Lou Lamoriello

Patrick Roy won't even have had time to complete his sabbatical from hockey: the New York Islanders named him their team's head coach on Saturday after firing Lane Lambert.

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“I knew Patrick as a player but also as a coach in Colorado,” said Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. He's an impressive presence and what he's done recently, his return to the junior ranks and the success he's had there, as well as developing players, has always stuck with me. When I spoke to him, I knew he was the right person. When you make a decision like this you have to make sure you have the right candidate and that was the feeling I had with Patrick.

When asked if he had interviewed other candidates, the veteran hockey player replied categorically: “Patrick is the only person we wanted and that's why we are here today.”

A return after more than seven years

For Roy, who left the Colorado Avalanche in 2016, it is a return behind the bench of an NHL team. He had admitted several times since his departure from Denver that the manner in which he announced his departure in August, just weeks before training camps began, had hurt him in his pursuit of a return to the NHL.

Ultimately, he had to wait just over seven years, five of which he used to perfect his coaching skills with the Quebec Remparts, before getting a second chance.

“It means a lot to me. When I left Colorado I thought the phone would ring sooner. I realize that the way I left Colorado wasn't the best way. I'm proud to be in the junior ranks to have returned, to have worked with these young people, to have recharged my batteries and adapted to the new generation. I wasn't unhappy on the golf course, but when I got that call [celui de Lou Lamoriello]I couldn’t say no.”

Roy believes he is a completely different coach than the one who left the Avalanche in August 2016.

“It’s night and day,” he assured. I think what I've learned in my two years out of hockey and my five years at the junior level is to respect the coaching profession even more, to arrive at the rink early, to work hard to help the players and them to bring new ideas. I want to build a partnership with the players like I did in Colorado.

A leadership position?

At the Avalanche, Roy not only held the position of head coach, but also vice president of ice hockey operations. And that's a bit of the reason for his downfall.

In addition, he made it clear on Saturday during his first press conference as head coach of the Islanders: He is not interested in a leadership position. On Long Island he will be the Islanders' coach, nothing more, nothing less.

“When I took the job in Colorado, I was perhaps a little dreamy about the idea that I could combine both functions. Today it is impossible. I will have a lot of time to look after the players, the team and relations with the media.

The Islanders have not announced any further personnel changes for the time being. This means that John Houda and Paul MacLean continue as assistant coaches. When asked about his intentions in recommending or not hiring certain people he had worked with in the past, as he had done in Colorado, bringing with him Andre Tourigny in particular, Roy did not want to comment too much.

“Right now it’s the status quo and we’ll see if any adjustments need to be made.”

Roy won't have time to laze around as the Islanders will be in action Sunday night while the Dallas Stars will be in town. Note that the Islanders will face the Canadiens next Thursday at the Bell Centre.

TVA Sports will present Roy's first game at the helm of the Islanders on Sunday evening starting at 7 p.m.