There is the Devil's Martin Brodeur, 'King' Henrik Lundqvist in New York, and many up-and-comers like Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles. Although it has been suggested and often stated that 4-time Stanley Cup winner and Hall-of-Famer, Patrick Edward Armand Roy, is the best goalie to ever stand between the pipes.
Greatness for another came on the same day in Quebec, Canada as Roy and fellow NHLer, Mario Lemieux were both born only 200 KM apart. At the age of seven, Roy started playing goal and began his professional career with the Sherbrooke Canadiens of the American Hockey League.
Little did anyone know, this was the start of something special.
It was in 1984 that Roy made the jump to the NHL. He was selected 51st overall in the third round by the Montreal Canadiens. During the 1985-1986 season, Roy (like another great Montreal goalie Ken Dryden), won the starting job for the Canadiens right at the start of their playoff journey. At the age of 20, Roy lead them to a Stanley Cup victory and won himself the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player along the way.
The trophies kept coming for Roy as he won the William M. Jennings trophy in 1997, 1998, and 1999, and collected his first Vezina trophy in the 1989-1990 season. A second Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy were added to his collection in the 1993 season where he nabbed 10 straight overtime playoff wins.
An unexpected surprise hit the city of Montreal on December 2nd of 1995. The Detroit Red Wings were in town, and after Roy allowed 9 goals on 26 shots, head coach Mario Tremblay finally pulled Roy in the second period. Roy maintained that Tremblay left him in the game just to humiliate him and as he made his way down the bench, he told Tremblay, "It's my last game in Montreal," and it was.
Only four days later the Colorado Avalanche signed Roy, and he rewarded them by leading the Av's to the Stanley Cup that same season. In 2001 he added another Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy to his already growing and extensive resume.
On May 28th 2003, Roy retired in Colorado and his number #33 was also retired by both the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche.
His retirement from the NHL, however, wasn't a retirement from hockey. He became the co-owner, GM, and head coach of the Quebec Remparts (of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). It was exactly three years after his retirement from the NHL, he raised another cup on May 28th 2006, this time the Memorial Cup.
As he continues to add to his coaching achievements in the Junior Leagues, his legacy as a professional goaltender will live on. No one will soon forget that he popularized the butterfly style of goaltending that many in today's game use.
This season Martin Brodeur finally broke all of Roy's records, but it's an ever changing, and timeless argument about who is the best ever. After all, when you say Roy's name, it does translate to 'king'.