Saturday, September 13, 2008

2009 - The last possible year for J.R. to hoist The Mug?

Last year, then-36-year-old center Jeremy Roenick joined the San Jose Sharks for the league minimum - $500 K for one season. Roenick's status as a veteran (a nice way of saying he's, um, aged by NHL standards) was no doubt a large part of his acquisition, given that 11 players were 25 or younger at the start of the 2007-08 season (and only 5 players, not counting J.R. or barely used Sandis Ozolinsh, were 30 or older). Roenick's experience and, shall we say, vocal qualities, were by all accounts felt in the locker room as well as on the ice. Despite having a -8 for the season, J.R. put up 33 points, including 10 game winners (second in the NHL, and just one behind MVP Alexander the Great, er, Ovechkin). And that's not to mention his 500th lifetime goal.

Sharks fans (and Flames fans, for that matter) will no doubt recall his 4 point bonanza in Game 7 of the Quarterfinals against Calgary, that won the series for Team Teal, and hopefully eliminated any talk of his being washed up. Well, Roenick's and the Sharks' hopes for Stanley Cup glory were dashed at the hands of Brenden Morrow and his Dallas Stars (despite the controversial - and laughable - Brenden Morrow hat-trick) in the Semifinals.

Which leads us to the 2008-09 season, which again finds J.R. in teal (and with a bit more in his bank account). Yesterday, the Sporting News posted an interview with Jeremy that pretty clearly spells out the obvious - this will be Jeremy Roenick's final year playing hockey.

An excerpt (emphasis mine):

SN: So can I officially break the news of your retirement after this season?

Roenick: No, no. I think this is it. I'm not announcing it completely and saying this is it. Deep down inside, you know it's time. I'm excited to play, but there is something inside of me that says there are other things you want to do, too.

Me again = How fitting would it be for Roenick to go out like Ray Bourque, and hoist Lord Stanley's Mug for the first time on the final day of his career?

In other Sharks veteran news - You may have heard already, but Jeff Friesen (who already has his Stanley Cup ring) is comin' to camp. Read today's San Jose Mercury News article on the subject here.

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