Wednesday, June 28, 2006

J.R. north of the border?

On a slow news day (I'm waiting for that Wade Redden signing, John), the latest on the Jeremy Roenick interests me.

Roenick had some intriguing things to say:

"It was a nightmare season from hell last year," Roenick said Wednesday from Los Angeles. "The embarrassment of the season I had last year is enormous. So I've totally re-arranged my summer and re-dedicated myself to the game of hockey.

"I'm working out and getting into the best shape possible that my body can get to. I want to make amends for a season lost. It was totally embarrassing...

I've always said I would like to play in Canada before my career is over," said the 36-year-old Boston native. "And it's one thing that I'm really anxious in doing. Don't be surprised if I end up on a Canadian team next week

That's something that's high on my list...

It's not going to take much to sign me," said Roenick. "I'm not looking for the $2.5-million to $3-million deals, I'd like to go for a deal for less money and get some bonuses, which I can do at my age. I'd like my play to do the talking, get paid as to how I'm going to perform."

How sincere is this? Was Roenick pandering to the Canadian media (it was a CP story after all) or does he have legitimate interest? And if so, where?

Toronto is always an attractive landing point for veterans, because they like the idea of playing in such a large hockey market (that is, until the first time they're reemed out by the media, at which point it becomes a detrament), but you have to think Roenick wants to win a Cup and the Leafs appear to be moving away from that.

Montreal has a lot of the same appeal, what with all the tradition, but it seems as if some free agents are scared of the whole French language thing (J.R. did play in the Q for a season though).

Calgary and Edmonton are both coming off terrific seasons but, apparently, it sucks living in Alberta. Does JR have a cunty wife who has him by the balls?

If quality of life would keep him out of Alberta, then perhaps Vancouver is the destination. It's a pretty awesome place to live, I hear, and the acquisition of probably the best goalie on the planet has to make them an attractive team to play on.

And what about Ottawa? We're still considered a favorite to win the Cup, or at least Las Vegas thinks so, but Ottawa has never been very good at luring veterans here. It was hoped Dominik Hasek's signing two summers ago would sent a message to the rest of the league, but besides that, most of our UFA action saw players leaving.

Roenick's no stranger to the area, having played for the then-Hull Olympiques for the aforementioned season he played in the QMJHL.

The bigger question may be, do we want him?

There can be no denying that we have a huge, gaping hole at center in terms of the second line. Try as they might to make him such, Bryan Smolinski is no longer fit for that role, if he ever was. Mike Fisher might be, but I like him more on the third line. Antoine Vermette's an extremely talented kid, but every time the coaching staff tried to give him an increased role over the spot he occupied on the fourth line, he failed miserably, including such an opportunity in the playoffs.

However, at age 36, does Roenick have what it takes still? He's saying the right things, and I'm sure he thinks them to be true, but for every Teemu Selanne in Anaheim last season, there was a Tony Amonte in Calgary.

Last summer, the question was how would these aged vets respond to the year off. Roenick was one of those question marks and the answer we got was a depressing one. He was not nearly the impact player he had been previously.

I think it would be foolish for the Sens to not at least talk to J.R., but at the end of the day, unless he has a time machine in his back pocket, it doesn't seem like a wise move. We tried the "I want a Cup bad so look past my age" veteran player last season. Didn't go so well.

7 Comments:

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I would guess that Toronto, Ottawa or maybe Edmonton would be the best bets. Toronto because it is the center of all things hockey and if his goal is to play in a hockey environment (as much as winning) then Toronto is that place. Plus, if Raycroft returns to his rookie form and the Leafs can add some scoring punch up front, I think the Leafs will have a pretty good team (despite what many pundits say to the contrary). They have some money to spend.

If winning is more important then maybe Ottawa is the choice, but a lot of Ottawa's chances of winning will depend on what happens with their goaltending an defense. If they lose Chara and Pothier, trade Havlat and end up going with Hasek and Emery in goal, is Ottawa still going to be one of the top favourites to win the cup? Sure they will be a good team but if they couldn't win last year will they be able to win this year with mostly the same players except a couple of the betters ones now gone? From Ottawa's point of view though, the feisty, never quit, Roenick is just the kind of guy they need. The only question is how much he has left.

Edmonton might be an interesting choice either. It is almost certain that the Oilers will lose Peca and Roenick might bring the Oilers a reasonable replacement.

I am not sure about Vancouver and whether they would have interest and they almost certainly have more pressing things to worry about than signing Roenick.

Calgary is more in need of a playmaking center than a gritty one. Calgary isn't short on grit, though Roenick is a Sutter type of player.

I doubt he'll end up in Montreal because of the language issue nor do I think the Canadiens are really looking for an aging veteren. I think they will look younger and go after Arnott.

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Plus, if Raycroft returns to his rookie form and the Leafs can add some scoring punch up front, I think the Leafs will have a pretty good team (despite what many pundits say to the contrary).

It's not that I don't think they will be good, but are they rebuilding or trying to be a contender again?

Or are they going to once again exist in the black hole of not being a top team (which I don't seem them being under any circumstances) or a team utilizing mostly young players.

 
At 10:46 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

It's not that I don't think they will be good, but are they rebuilding or trying to be a contender again?

A bit of both. It think you will find as many as 3 young defensemen regularly in the lineup and probably another young forward or two (in addition to Steen and Wellwood from last year). But if Raycroft plays like his rookie year and they can also add some offense they will be a very good team.

Remember, goaltending is the key to pretty much anything. Look what it did for the Oilers with Roloson and Carolina with Ward and look how it has been the achilles heel of the Senators for pretty much ever. If Raycroft provides goaltending like he did in his rookie year the Leafs will easily make the playoffs. And if you make the playoffs, anything can happen. Again, see the Oilers.

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

A bit of both.

There's the problem.

Can't be sorta pregnant.

Either piss or get off the pot.

What other tired cliches can I use?

At that salary, the Raycroft gamble is a good one, but even if they get superb goaltending, can they compete?

Didn't they get that every season with Cujo and Belfour, and still not get to the finals?

Good goaltending is needed to win, but it's not all that needed.

I figured JFJ would use last season as his opportunity to rebuild with a few veterans around for optics but mostly a young team.

Should've known better.

 
At 1:16 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Didn't they get that every season with Cujo and Belfour, and still not get to the finals?

Did better than the Senators did without good goaltending.

Goaltending is crucial in hockey but to win you also need some luck, particularly on the injury front. It wasn't until the finals that the Hurricanes really had any injuries. Pretty much the same can be said for the Oilers. As well as Tampa and Calgary in 2003-04.

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Did better than the Senators did without good goaltending.

Really?

Seems to me neither team has won a Cup or gotten to a final.

 
At 6:41 PM, Anonymous a FAT NUCKS fan from VANCOUVER said...

"Goaltending is crucial in hockey but to win you also need some luck, particularly on the injury front. It wasn't until the finals that the Hurricanes really had any injuries. Pretty much the same can be said for the Oilers. As well as Tampa and Calgary in 2003-04."

Look at CALGARY's depleted defense core, DAVID. Montador and Commodore (plus Evans if you want) were healthy scratches during the 03/04 regular season from what I can remember. When you lost guys like Lydman, Gauthier, Lombardi, your depth took a hit for sure~

 

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