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Avalanche’s Roy Keeping Quiet on Future

May 7, 2003

DENVER (AP) _ Patrick Roy is keeping his plans secret for now.

Has the winningest goaltender in NHL history played his final game or will he return for a 19th season?

After the Colorado Avalanche’s unexpected Game 7 loss to Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs last month, Roy said he was pretty sure what he would do but wanted ``a little more time to make sure I make the right decision.″

He’s been mum since. Avalanche officials insist they don’t know what Roy will do, but there are signs that he has decided to retire.

In January, he put his home in a Denver suburb up for sale. Within the past year, he purchased a home in Palm Beach, Fla.

Roy, who turns 38 in October, is in good physical condition, but his arthritic hips have deteriorated in recent years. He had right hip surgery four years ago, and the left hip had to be drained of fluid this season, causing him to miss two games. Roy’s butterfly style of goaltending only aggravates that condition.

Roy’s eldest son, Jonathan, a budding goalie, will play hockey in Quebec starting this fall, and Roy has made no secret of his desire to follow his son’s career closely. Ex-Avs defenseman Ray Bourque retired in 2001 for essentially the same reason.

Jacques Demers, a hockey analyst for RDS television in Montreal and Roy’s former coach with the Montreal Canadiens, believes Roy will quit. Demers said he was told by a ``confidant″ of Roy in December that the goaltender planned to retire after this season.

Demers said Roy is determined to leave the game while his skills remain at a high level.

Roy has won four Stanley Cups _ two with Montreal and two with Colorado _ and was solid this season, tying for fourth in the NHL with 35 victories. He was second in goals-against average (2.18) and third in save percentage (.920).

Roy has one year left on his contract, at the team’s option, worth $8.5 million. The Avs want him to return. If he retires, he will get a $1 million bonus from the team.

``We don’t know anything more than what Patrick said after our last game,″ Avalanche spokesman Jean Martineau said. ``For the past few years, he has indicated the same thing _ that he will take it year by year and make a decision in the offseason.″

Roy’s agent, Bob Sauve, said his client will take as much time as he needs to arrive at a decision, noting that Roy usually is still competing at this time of the year.

Avs forward Peter Forsberg, whose own future in Colorado is uncertain, said, ``It would be a terrible shame if we lost a guy who probably is the best goaltender of all time.″

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