Fraser: Roy vs. Boudreau? How about Bowman vs. Crawford?

Kerry Fraser
10/3/2013 2:47:26 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

Hi Kerry,

Last night, during the Anaheim Ducks-Colorado Avalanche game, there was definitely some really heated exchange between Patrick Roy and Bruce Boudreau. Do you have any memorable stories where a head coach goes after the head coach of the other team and you had to intervene?

Jason Bouchard,
Toronto, Ontario


Patrick Roy made quite an impression in his NHL coaching debut beyond just the Avs' 6-1 home victory over Bruce Boudreau and the Anaheim Ducks. If Patrick's fiery history is any indicator rest assured this won't be the last outburst we see from the new bench boss.

Every coach brings a unique personality, style and level of emotion to the job. Often we can look back to the type of players they were and the reputation they earned to indicate what to expect when they step behind the bench. Who can forget the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry that qualified as hatred for one another following Claude Lemieux's hit from behind on Kris Draper?  'No Saint' Patrick went toe-to-toe with Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood in addition to a dust-up with Dominik Hasek that was prevented only from becoming a main event by the linesmen.

No one can dispute the fact that Patrick Roy is a proven winner and champion and one of the best to ever play the game but he also brought nastiness to his game that I saw firsthand on more than one occasion. I was the referee in Patrick's final game as a Montreal Canadien when Scotty Bowman's Red Wings lit him up for nine goals. Habs Coach Mario Tremblay gave the future Hall of Fame goalie the hook after Sergei Federov scored the ninth goal midway through the second period. I saw both the pride and venom in his eyes when he walked the length of the bench to have words with Tremblay and team president Ronald Corey.

In Colorado one night, I was skating backwards at full speed and crossing over behind the net on a dump-in when Patrick stepped out his crease and slew-footed me with an extended pad at the goal line causing me to go airborne into the end boards.

As I flew through the air I tucked my chin to my chest to protect my helmetless head from becoming the principal point of contact with the boards. My angry threat of a 20-game suspension prompted a line of defence from the goalie that it was just an "accident." That was, until I reminded Patrick that I had witnessed him do the very same thing to Referee Brad Watson in a game earlier that week! As coach of the Quebec Ramparts, his intensity, emotional outbursts and altercations are well-documented. We shouldn't expect anything different from Patrick Roy in his new location behind the Avs bench. He will still be a winner and he will still wear his emotions on his sleeve.

Bruce Boudreau on the other hand was a slick, skilled centre who earned his nickname, "Gabby" for being the consummate talker. That's putting it politely - the fact is, he never shut up! Gabby and I had many 'conversations' on the ice when he was a player. I can see how the perfect storm resulted last night in Colorado when these two personalities collided at the end of the game.

Looking back on the different personalities that I dealt with, I understood that as a player, Glen Sather got under the skin of his opponents with a sharp tongue and wit. Slats demonstrated the same style as a successful coach with the Edmonton Oilers. Many times I had to warn him not to taunt opposing players that would ultimately result in a confrontation with the other coach. Most often I had to suppress a laugh at some of the things that came out of Sather's mouth.

As a young contracted NHL referee in 1974, I was assigned to swings through the WHL. Pat "Patty" Ginnell was a notorious coach whose teams terrorized opponents. Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, Kim Clackson and many other players graduated from Patty's stable. Ginnell had moved from Flin Flon to coach the Victoria Cougars when I was pressed into action one night.

The Edmonton Oil Kings were the guests when a line brawl erupted followed by the benches clearing. As I was sorting out penalties I noticed coach Ginnell step onto the ice with a stick in his hand and was approaching Oil Kings coach Ken Hodge. Hodge remained on the Oil bench, but reached into the stick rack to arm himself against the impending attack. I intercepted Ginnell with the stick raised over his head, just 10 feet from Ken Hodge. I was able to talk Ginnell down before ejecting him from the game. The threat was real - and it was scary.

I don't think I ever saw another coach that could get under the skin of his opposing bench boss the way Scotty Bowman could unhinge Marc Crawford, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Scotty was the master of game day antics. The Avs' visiting team dressing room door was painted in the afternoon with toxic enamel and greeted Crawford and his players when they arrived prior to game time on one occasion. I could smell the paint from ice-level near the Avs bench! On another occasion, the length of the players' bench length was altered. When asked, Scotty would calmly reply he knew nothing of it and was just part of regularly scheduled building maintenance!

In what was already powder keg matchups between the Wings and the Avalanche, Marc would scream with neck veins bulging at Scotty from a position where the two benches would meet. Once again, Scotty would have that calm little smirk on his face that would infuriate Crow all the more. When these dustups happened, my objective was to try and calm Marc since Scotty already had ice water running through his veins (and often ice cubes in his mouth from the bucket). I told Crow one time on the bench not to let Scotty get to him so much because he was playing right into the Master's hands.

Like he did as a Hall of Fame goalie, Patrick Roy established himself and made a mark in his first game as an NHL coach with a well-deserved win and a game misconduct/ejection at the 20:00 minute mark. I wouldn't have expected much less from Saint Patrick. 

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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