Patrick Roy takes a punch from Mike Vernon during the famous Red Wings-Avalanche brawl in Detroit on March 26, 1997. (Associated Press)
Denver — It was sort of like old times, Patrick Roy in Colorado Avalanche gear — not goaltending attire obviously — but a coach’s warmup suit and knowing he was going against the Red Wings.
Those were the days, those epic playoff battles and regular season brawls, between two of the premier organizations at the time.
“It was a great battle at the time with the Red Wings,” said Roy, now a rookie head coach of the Avalanche. “Every year when we were playing each other, the team winning (the series) had a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
“In an eight-year span, the Red Wings won three times and the Avalanche two times. Not bad for two teams to win five (Stanley Cups) in a period of time.
“It’s easy to develop a rivalry in a situation like that.”
Defeating the Red Wings in the 1996 conference finals, after arriving in Colorado in a trade from Montreal, was Roy’s favorite memory of the era.
Ironically, it was the Red Wings who helped Roy get traded with a lopsided victory in Montreal that forced a trade.
“It was good to play them in the playoffs,” Roy said. “I’m not saying I was looking for revenge, but at the same time, it was an opportunity to show I was capable of helping a team. Everyone in Montreal thought my best years were behind me.
“It was important to make a statement in those playoffs.”
Roy taped a pregame interview with Chris Osgood, one of his former adversaries, for Fox Sports Detroit.
It was the first time the two had met and talked off the ice.
“I was very impressed,” said Osgood, who regards Roy as the best goaltender ever. “He’s a very smart guy. He had an interesting perspective on the Detroit-Colorado rivalry.
“He has a lot of passion for hockey and he genuinely cares about the young guys.”
With each game, each shift, forward Luke Glendening (Grand Rapids/Michigan) is getting a bit more comfortable with the Red Wings.
Babcock has Glendening centering Jordin Tootoo and Drew Miller on the fourth line, as well as doing some penalty killing.
“Every game, every practice you gain a little more confidence,” Glendening said. “I’ve been talking with the guys. They’ve been helping me out.
“I’m just trying to be a sponge here and learn everything I can.”