October 08, 2017

Legends of Team Canada: Serge Roy

Serge Roy was a small defenseman at 5'9" and 190lbs. 

But he had a big shot and, unlike so many Canadian Olympic hockey players, he wanted to shoot. Roy was a mainstay on the power play and was often banging his stick on the ice and demanding a pass. 

Some, like Brian Bradley, favored this set up. Roy had a knack for getting the puck through traffic and on net, perfect for rebounds and tip-ins.

He was good at most offensive aspects of the game, including rushing the puck out of his zone. But he was never the most polished defensive player, which in Dave King's world makes for some tough decisions.

When he played King would shelter Roy as best he could from bigger and better opponents. And there was times where he just flat out scratched Roy. Such as 3 times during the 1988 Olympics. This despite the fact that Roy, a three year veteran of the national team program, had a team leading seven assists in the other five Olympic contests.

Roy and Tony Stiles took turns on the sidelines as the Olympic team parachuted in Tim Watters - a 1980 Olympian - from the NHL's Winnipeg Jets. 

The national team bumped a few players off completely, despite years of service, to drop in NHL reinforcements such as Watters, Jim Peplinski and Steve Tambellini. Merlin Malinwoski

Some speculated that adding last minute NHLers actually hurt Team Canada. After all the players who committed to the national team all year were the ones who upset the mighty Soviets at the Izvestia Christmastime tournament several weeks earlier.

Among those critics was Team Canada defenseman Randy Gregg - a former NHLer who returned to the national team for the entirety of season to compete at the Olympics.

"That was the Izvestia team; this was the Canadian Olympic team. In between, that special oneness we had as a team was lost," said Gregg after losing to the Russians in Calgary by a score of 5-0.

Gregg refused to elaborate at the time, as the tournament was not over.

"This isn't the time for that sort of anaylsis," he said. "We still have two important hockey games to play, a chance to make some gains, and we should be concentrating on them. Maybe down the road, when the whole season is over, I'll talk about it; I'm not sure."

But another anonymous source was quoted in a Toronto Star report by Frank Orr saying, ""If it had been Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux who replaced them, well, that's one thing," the source said. "But when guys who have a year or two of their lives to the Olympic program were replaced by ordinary pros, well, it didn't go over too well. Were any of the players they added better than Roy and (Bob) Joyce would have been?"

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