Isles hiring Patrick Roy will add extra spice to Rangers rivalry

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On Saturday evening, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders rivalry got a shot in the arm despite the two teams having yet to square off this season. Looking to save their playoff hopes, the floundering Isles, who are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, hired fiery Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy as their new head coach to replace Lane Lambert.

“Our fan base is extremely important, and I want our fans to come to our games and be excited for all this,” Roy told the press. “I want our fans to walk in the street wearing that jersey and be so proud of that team, and that’s my objective.”

Oddly enough, before the 2023-24 season began, there was speculation that Roy was a candidate for the vacant coaching job. However, according to the NY Post, Roy was not under consideration by president and general manager Chris Drury before they landed on Peter Laviolette.

Knowing how competitive Roy is, you have to have to assume that little snub just added another angle to this already historic and heated rivalry.

Related: 2014 Rangers – Where are they now?

Isles hire Patrick Roy; heats up Rangers rivalry

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Roy, 58, had just completed a magical run with the Quebec Remparts to win the Memorial Cup when speculation that he could be the next Rangers coach started to pick up. Even though he had more than proven his coaching acumen in both the NHL and QMJHL, the way he abruptly departed the Colorado Avalanche in 2016 did not sit well with many teams.

In 13 seasons behind the Remparts bench over 18 years, he amassed a record of 518-321-0 for a .617 winning percentage. Roy had also reached the postseason in 12 of those seasons. His NHL record is 130-92-24 with a Jack Adams Trophy in his rookie year as a head coach.

Now, he will try and lead the Islanders, who sit two points out of the East’s final wild card spot to the postseason with 37 games remaining.

“In my opinion, that is exactly what this is for,” Lamoriello said. “And now we have to put it on the players, because I know what Patrick will bring to them. Now it’s what the players will bring to us.”

Lou Lamoriello, via NHL.com

The Rangers and Islanders will play each other four times during the second half of the season. The Roy-led era for the Isles begins against the Blueshirts in grand fashion, in an outdoor game at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 18.

According to the hockey weather gods, the forecast is for some real heat on the ice that day.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore