Thursday, December 08, 2005

Talk about opposite ends of the class spectrum

If you want evidence on what a pro Steve Yzerman is for bowing out of the Team Canada mix and taking the burden off of Wayne Gretzky and company for having to remove the legend, all you have to do is look at how Jeremy Roenick is conducting himself.

Veteran Jeremy Roenick, meanwhile, has publicly campaigned to be named to the Olympic team.

"I better be," the Kings centre told the Los Angeles Times. "It would be a travesty if I'm not. I know they want a youth movement, and they need to have one, but it'd be disrespectful of the guys who have gotten Team USA to this point internationally."

While Yzerman is respectful and humble, Roenick is obnoxious and abrasive. While Yzerman is man enough to realize he’s no longer worthy of a spot on the team if the measuring stick is what he can contribute, Roenick is clearly in a bad state of denial. While Yzerman doesn’t want to rest on laurels, Roenick seems to think he’s entitled to a spot because of what he’s accomplished in the past.

Newsflash J.R.: if we’re picking Team USA based on performance, and not what you did nine years ago, you’re not even in the mix, let alone on the shortlist.

Roenick’s 12th in scoring on the Kings, and of the American forwards in the NHL, is 21st. I’ve only seen him play once this year, but according to those who have seen Roenick and the Kings with some regularity, he’s looked a step slower than the rest on a consistent basis.

Apparently, that’s not enough for Jeremy Roenick. He deserves to be there.

Have Roenick and his peers (Mike Modano, Tony Amonte, Brett Hull, John LeClair, Chris Chelios, Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk, Derian Hatcher, etc.) done a lot for Team USA as far as getting them “to this point”? Sure. That World Cup win back in 1996 will always be etched in my mind.

But if I’m not mistaken, it was also Roenick and company who were in the middle of the controversy back at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano when, after a loss that knocked team out of contention, still unidentified Team USA players, with apparent hurt vaginas, went back to their dorm rooms and threw hissy fits like little girls, breaking the furniture in their Olympic Village room.

If you recall, Doug Weight rationalized it as such:

"People think we were hammered and destroying furniture, but that's not true," Weight said before leaving Nagano.

After the loss, he said, players and families went to a karaoke restaurant. "We had a good time singing and drinking a few beers. We got back to the village late, some guys were wrestling and stuff, but that's it," Weight told the newspaper.

He disputed that the chairs were broken by rowdy players, saying: "We're big guys and the chairs aren't real strong. Some were broken while we were just sitting on them, playing cards."

So these chairs were just broken under the weight (no pun intended) of these guys. How they ended up in the courtyard, who knows. Apparently, in addition to the fragile chairs, the doors were quite brittle as well, as they had dents in them. I’m sure it was just from them walking through them.

Roenick had his own explanation:

"Maybe what they're talking about are the chairs. The chairs and furniture that we had were definitely not made for NHL players. The chairs would fall apart right there, just sitting on them. We went through nine chairs with five guys in the apartment. It was ridiculous."

I have no clue if Roenick was the one who acted like a child and embarrassed his entire country with his actions, but way he offered excuses, rather than expressing disgusting at the act the way some of his teammates did, was pretty telling.

Now, eight years later, he’s offended that they’re not showing loyalty to him, even though even the most uninformed outsider could see he simply doesn’t deserve a spot.

J.R., you might want to take some lessons on how to conduct yourself from Stevie Y. Would do you some good.


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