Jeremy Roenick scored 513 goals and 1,216 points over 1,363 career NHL games. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
With the expected announcement Thursday of Jeremy Roenick’s retirement, the hockey world is lamenting the loss of one of the best players of his generation.
“J.R.” was on last week’s list of the Top 10 American-born players and an earlier list of soon-to-be retirees THN will miss.
But Roenick also has been one of the NHL’s most quotable players; entertaining, controversial and never afraid to speak his mind, which is a refreshing character trait in this day and age of media-trained, cliche-machine sports figures.
We here at THN will miss Roenick. He’s been nothing but great to us over the years with his time for photo shoots and his editorial fodder. So without further ado, here are THN.com’s Top 10 Roenick quotes.
10. “A lot of kids are 'We lose, I'm still gonna drive away in my Mercedes.’ How are they gonna throw themselves in front of a slapshot or take a punch in the mouth to get in front of the net and score a goal? When this team gets in trouble, we have no emotion. So I've gotta attack 'em.”
– On teaching the younger San Jose Sharks that losing just isn’t acceptable.
9. “When we watch hockey games and see 8,000 fans in D.C., you cringe as a player...Those cities that aren't pulling their weight in terms of drawing fans and revenue are hurting everybody as a whole, not just that city.”
– On the state of some NHL markets prior to the lockout and (obviously) prior to Alex Ovechkin’s arrival in Washington.
8. “They just love to complain about me because I'm an American who gets more press than their Canadian players.”
– On the Canadian media’s love/hate relationship with Roenick.
7. “The coach just doesn't like him for some ungodly-known reason, I think he's got a grudge against American players, but he does not like Cheli at all…If you'd know some of the things that Babcock says to Chris Chelios, it would make your stomach churn.”
– On Chris Chelios’ lack of playing time during the 2009 playoffs.
6. “We did not lose to a bunch of scrubs. We lost to the best players in the world, bar none. And you could tell they needed it. It seemed like 50 years of emotion was pent up because they were flying out there.”
– On Team USA’s loss to Canada in the gold medal game at the 2002 Olympics.
5. “When they saw that 12 percent out of the paycheck, the guys on our team were bitching and moaning and complaining about it...This is after we already had given back 24 percent and taken a ($39-million) salary cap.”
– On NHL salary escrow after the lockout and the seeming lack of understanding players had about the economics of the new NHL.
4. “I liked Patrick's quote, (that) he would have stopped me. I wanted to know where he was in Game 3. He was probably getting his jock out of the rafters of the United Center.”
– On Patrick Roy after Game 4 of the conference semifinal between Chicago and Colorado in 1996. Roy’s retort: “I can't really hear what Jeremy says, because I've got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.”
3. “Because wives and girlfriends aren’t on the road.”
– On why San Jose’s away record was so much better than its home record through the first few months of the 2007-08 season.
2. “This is our canvas. Our easel. This is how we paint, on fresh sheets of ice.”
– On the artistry that is hockey.
1. "It's not my fault (Snow) didn't have any other options coming out of high school. If going to college gets you a career backup goaltender job and my route gets you a thousand points and a thousand games, and compare the two contracts, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out whose decision was better."
– On Islanders goalie Garth Snow’s response to Roenick complaining about the officiating during a Flyers-Islanders game during which Snow said Roenick wasn’t “that bright.”
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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