| Roenick hangs up his
Sharks need new motivator
Desperately in need of the motivation required to
get them over the Stanley Cup hump, the San Jose Sharks took a hit to that
cause and said goodbye to one of their team leaders on Thursday, as Jeremy
Roenick hung up his skates in an afternoon press conference at HP Pavilion. The
veteran centerman wrapped up a 20-year NHL career behind the microphone and a
conference table in the bowels of the Sharks Tank, finally succumbing to the
physical burden that professional hockey player endures. Roenick said he knew
it was time to move on.
The void created by one of the most outspoken
players in the league leaves the Sharks minus a huge personality, but more
importantly a locker room motivator. After being pulled off the NHL scrap heap
in the summer of 2007, Roenicks career was revitalized with a real
opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.
For San Jose , it meant taking a
chance on bone-fide mouth that would either work for or against the Sharks
master plan. Roenick was labeled a distraction later in his career, floundering
in Phoenix and Los Angeles , so it was a big gamble on Sharks General Manager
Doug Wilsons part to sign Roenick.
He admitted in
Thursdays press conference, that he was 20 pounds overweight when Wilson
came to visit and see if we had any gas left in the tank before signing him.
Wilson interrupted him by saying it was 25 pounds, drawing lots of
chuckles from the press conference attendees.
What transpired over the
next two seasons exceeded many of the expectations that people had before he
came to San Jose . Roenick didnt turn into the locker room distraction
that many thought he would become. He didnt appease journalists with
outlandish quotes that were great for selling newspapers, but lousy for team
He did exactly what Wilson asked him to do. He became a
mentor to a relatively young team. Roenick is a Hall of Fame lock, having
scored his 513 goals and 703 assists in 1,363 regular season games.
The only problem with the deal Roenick signed 2-years
ago, was that is didnt include a cloning clause which would provide the
added motivation that the Sharks needed to advance in the playoffs. Perhaps the
effects of his presence in the Sharks locker room may still be manifesting
itself. Perhaps the Devin Setoguchis and Joe Pavelskis learned to
become true professionals under Roenicks tutelage and the Sharks have yet
to reap those rewards.
Reaping the rewards of having the wise old
veteran teach his youngsters for the last two years, Wilson decided to repay
his old teammate one last time by allowing Roenick to go out on his own terms.
Roenick mentioned that he didnt have a chance to say goodbye to the fans,
to his contemporaries, or to the game after Los Angeles chose not to resign him
in 2007. Wilson gave him that chance with a fine send off.
those contemporaries called into the press conference to pass on well wishes,
including Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk and Chris Chelios. All helped conjure
tears in Roenicks eyes as they reminisced and lauded him for his great
Chelios mentioned that he was preparing for the upcoming
season, even though hes not currently signed by any team. If Wilson wants
to fill the leadership role that Roenick just vacated, Chelios is waiting in
the wings. Chelios is another former Blackhawk teammate of Wilsons, and
given all the dividends his last role of the dice paid in signing a washed up
former Blackhawk, Chelios could ft the bill.
As for hockey, the real
fun is just around the corner. Never one to mince his words, Roenick will
almost surely land behind a television camera or radio microphone, continuing
in his role as NHL ambassador. Now the gloves can really come off, in terms of
what Roenick can and cant say.
Its sure to be
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