Everyone must have his or her favourite moment in sports. I'd like to offer Patrick Roy's wink at Tomas Sandstrom against the Los Angeles Kings, caught live on camera in a close-up in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final as my uncontested no. 1.
As a kid growing up in Montreal, you always felt that your team had the edge. The Old Forum on St. Catherines at Atwater was said to house the ghosts of past champions...tripping opposing players, keeping pucks out of our net, and blinding referees to any Canadiens transgression.
Montreal had fallen on hard times since their win in 1979 and had only the 1986 Stanley Cup to show for 14 years of play. Montreal had never gone more than seven years without winning a Cup in their 85 years of existence...which brought us to 1993 and the Cup Final versus L.A. on the eve of a seven year drought.
The moment happened late in overtime in Game Four, with L.A. carrying the majority of the play. Tomas Sandstrom swept in with a shot (one of about 10 that night), and Patrick stopped it, covering the loose puck before Sandstrom could poke in the rebound.
In front of an L.A. crowd, in playoff overtime, Patrick was so relaxed that he actually winked at Sandstrom as he continued through the crease.
We were literally on the edge of our seats at home and I remember leaping up out of my chair screaming "Did you see that? He winked at him!"
From that point forward, I was convinced that nothing could stop our run that year.
Playoff hockey is a funny thing...and anything can happen in a close game. Patrick registered an unbelievable (and never matched) 10 straight overtime wins in the playoffs that year to quite literally steal the show, and the Cup, for Montreal.
Thanks Patrick—I'm glad they are raising your jersey to the rafters this year...our 100th.