Roenick retires in style, Dallas' secret weapon, Afinogenov's future
Gotta say this about
In a scene straight out of
Not that he's really going away. Sure, at 39, he's finished as a player. After 1,363 games, 513 goals and 1,216 points, the turbocharged body that always operated at top speed and never veered from trouble had had enough. But it's hard to imagine that someone as passionate about the game will be out of the limelight for long.
Still, the question hung in the air long after the event wound down: What's next? Roenick wouldn't commit to any specific plans, and no reason he should at this point. No doubt he could name his role anywhere in television, including Hockey Night in Canada (my desire to the contrary,
Chelios, whose genuine affection for Roenick was clear during a five-minute call-in segment, might have suggested the best possible landing spot for the man who earned a reputation as the league's best quote.
"We need a little work in the [NHL's] marking department," he said. "There hasn't been a better ambassador or personality, either for USA Hockey or the NHL, over the past 18, 20 years."
The league's front office would be lucky to have him, but it's hard for me to imagine him committing to that gig, or any other, for long. Not that he's incapable of making a commitment. It's just that it's easy to picture Roenick dabbling in a number of fields, giving each his all for a time, before moving on to a fresh challenge.
Despite a career spent talking without a filter, he'll have few fences to mend no matter where he goes. It's more than people writing off any perceived sleights from the past as "J.R. being J.R." There was always a sincerity to his words that forced you to give his position some consideration ... even if you were the one he was skewering.
"I can honestly tell you that I spoke from the heart, it was how I was feeling,'' he said. "Some people didn't like it. Some people didn't enjoy it. Some thought I was arrogant, and that's a little bit true. But I didn't want to be generic and cliched. Fans and media don't want to hear generic stuff.''
Right to the end, he was willing to stir the pot to make what he thought was a valid point.
Chelios laughingly referred to the grenade Roenick dropped on him this spring when he accused Detroit coach
"When we were in the playoffs and you tried to help me get out on the ice with [Babcock] was quite entertaining," Chelios said. "You put me through hell with the press for a couple days. It's nothing that I'm not used to... always answering for you."
At one point during the proceedings, Roenick was asked what advice he would pass on to younger players.
"For me, it's to be yourself, enjoy what you're doing," he said. "Don't be afraid to open your mouth, don't be afraid to say what you feel. ... to be different. Don't be afraid to rock the boat every once in a while. But do it with respect. Enjoy what you do, work hard and love your teammates."
It wasn't his parting shot, but should have been. More than just a concise summation of his career, those are words the future generation would do well to live by.
A friend once quipped that the NHL wouldn't be big time until one of its retired legends appeared on
Would he re-consider now that his daybook is cleared? It's possible. Next season's cast will be announced later this month. If he's really interested,
Tough to pick the best line from the press conference, but I'll give it to Chelios.
"I always thought you'd retire with me," the 47-year-old unrestricted free agent said. "Actually, I might be retired. I just don't know it yet."
The news that
After eight seasons in a similar role in Edmonton, Huddy will be tasked with developing Dallas' promising, but very green, defense corps. With All-Star (yeah, I double-checked)
That's a handful for any coach, but Huddy's biggest challenge could be stabilizing
No word yet on the future home of