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THN.com Playoff Blog: NHL better with J.R. in it

Jeremy Roenick had 14 goals and 33 points with the Sharks this season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Jeremy Roenick had 14 goals and 33 points with the Sharks this season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

I’m so glad Jeremy Roenick is coming back.

Through his career I’ve never considered him among my favorite players – in fact, most of the time I found myself rooting against him - but you have to appreciate his passion for the game and his willingness to proudly display it.

Roenick, while no longer the 30-goal scorer he once was, is still a game-changing player in crunch time and is exciting to watch when he puts himself in gear. Heck, he notched 10 game-winning goals this season and was one of the best players the Sharks had in the post-season.

When a playoff game is on the line, one player I want out on the ice is a Cup-starved Roenick. Here’s to a new season of good health and great success for him.

Afternoon Hockey
A growing area of frustration among more traditional hockey fans, including myself, is the number of afternoon weekend playoff games being scheduled in an attempt to draw more viewership in the U.S.

While reading Tropic of Hockey by Dave Bidini – a great hockey book for anyone looking to pick one up – it made me laugh to read they do the same thing in Transylvania, of all places.

In a rivalry that sounds as though it would dwarf any Toronto-Montreal tilt, the epic match between Steaua (Bucharest) and Sport Klub (Miercurea Ciuc) played annually in the Romanian Cup gets scheduled for the afternoon so it can be broadcast nationally.

So, seeing how hockey has a history in Transylvania dating back almost as far as it does in Canada - and they don’t have a problem with the matinee - maybe the traditionalists on this end should consider embracing midday tilts?

Nah.

When you got it good…
Boy oh boy.

On the Toronto sports scene, the hockey team is in disarray, the basketball team has stalled and the baseball team is floundering.

In Buffalo, the hockey team collapsed and the football team is inching nervously close to relocation.

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In Minnesota, the hockey team can’t make a playoff run, the basketball team has fallen off the face of the earth and the football team, well, are they ever anything more than just a tease?

But with the first three games of the Stanley Cup final and NBA Eastern conference final scheduled on the same nights, the pressing issue for sports fans in Detroit is: Do I watch the Stanley Cup final or the NBA’s Eastern conference final?

It’s tough being a sports fan in Motown right now.

Is bigger really better?
After the exciting finish to a World Championship tournament full of flashy goals, big hits and an all-around display of top-notch hockey on a global stage, I’m onside with Ken Campbell in thinking any international tournament involving professional players should be played on NHL-sized ice.

That being said, after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the NHL should hold its own World Cup tournament once every four years instead of participating in what should be an amateur event.

This would still allow the world’s best to compete every four years on a professional, world-class surface that best displays the elite teams. It would also allow countries around the world to keep their Olympic-sized ice rinks, instead of forcing a sudden and expensive overhaul that, in many places, might not be on the to-do list.

Not to mention, this would allow lesser-known players, who may not move on to bigger and better leagues, to get a shot at representing their country in the Olympics.

Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.

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