Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It was on this date in 2007 that Jeremy Roenick of the San Jose Sharks scored his 500th NHL goal, the 40th such player to reach the 500 goal mark.
Roenick was a player that drove us crazy here at Third String Goalie. He could be a fan favorite, then a villain and back again as quick, and as often as any player we have followed. It appeared at times that his mouth and his brain were not connected, or at the very least the filter between them had been removed.
Drafted eighth overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, the Boston native got his first NHL game action on October 6, 1988 and played 20 games with the Blackhawks that season, scoring 18 points. He established himself as an NHL regular the following season and scored 66 points in 78 games and became a fan favorite with his all-out, impulsive style.
The best offensive years of his career followed, as he scored 94, 103, 107 and 107 points again from 1990-91 to 1993-94, reaching 53 goals for a career high in 1991-92 and 50 more the following season. It was the peak of his scoring, as he would never top 80 points again in the remaining 14 years of his career.
The lockout shortened season of 1994-95 would see him finish with 34 points in 33 games. After an acrimonious split with the Blackhawks over his contract, which he was more than happy to spout off about in public to the annoyance of the Blackhawks ownership, he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 1996 and scored between 24 and 34 goals in his five seasons with Phoenix, leading the team in scoring during his last three seasons with the Coyotes. One of his most famous moments that made you love him was playing with his jaw wired shut after an injury for a Game 7 in the 1997 playoffs.
He would sign as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2001 and lead the Flyers in scoring his first two seasons in Philadelphia and score his 1000th NHL point on January 30, 2001.
Following the NHL lockout, the Flyers traded Roenick to the Los Angeles Kings in a salary cap move. Limited to 58 games, he would score just 22 points on the season. It was a less than happy time in Los Angeles and he did not endear himself to the Kings or their fans with his performance that season, something he will freely admit.
After one season in Los Angeles, 2006-07 would see a return to Phoenix for a second time. He would score 11 goals in 70 games, leaving him at 495 career goals and the end of the season.
After contemplating, and at one point even sending a newspaper his retirement announcement, Roenick signed with the San Jose Sharks for the 2007-08 season. It was as a Shark on this date in 2007 that Roenick scored his 500th career goal against Alex Auld off a crazy play, where Roenick dumped the puck into the corner of the Coyotes zone from center ice, saw the puck bounce off the end boards, hit the side of the net, bounce off and hit Auld, deflect into the crease and then, somehow, Auld then directed the puck into his own net! To fully appreciate the comic nature of the event, be certain to watch the video below. Roenick became only the third American to reach 500 goals after Joe Mullen and Mike Modano. Two months later he would pass Mullen for second place among American goal scorers. While he would only tally 14 goals that season, ten of them were game winners.
In the playoffs that year, Roenick would rekindle his old scoring touch when it mattered the most with two goals and two assists in Game 7 to eliminate the Calgary Flames.
2008-09 would see Roenick return for another year with the Sharks, playing in 42 games and notching his 700th assist on February 21, 2009.
His final career totals were 513 goals and 703 assists for 1216 points, plus an additional 53 goals and 69 assists for 122 points in 154 playoff games. He would also compete in 9 NHL All-Star Games during his career.
Internationally, Roenick was proud to suit up for Team USA and did so six times. He would play in two World Junior Championships, in 1988 and 1989, the World Championships in the spring of 1991 and the Canada Cup, earning a silver medal, later in September of 1991. He would also compete in the Winter Olympics in 1998 and again in 2002 in Salt Lake City where he earned a silver medal.
He could be the most humble and fan friendly player at times, as evidenced by what we saw in person at the 2004 NHL All-Star Practice, when Roenick stayed on the ice long after the rest of the players had left to sign jersey after jersey for a group of fans with Roenick jerseys, but then he could undo all that goodwill by saying some of the stupidest, most ill-advised things, like during the 2004-05 lockout telling the fans to "kiss my ass" when talking about fans who perceived NHL players as being spoiled and that he would prefer if those fans no longer attended NHL games or even watch them on TV.
And just when you learned to like him again, he'd go and do it again, such as when he spouted off about being left off the American squad for the 2006 Winter Olympics, even though he only had 13 points in 32 games at the time, and threatened to cheer for Canada!
Today's featured jersey is a 1998 Team USA Jeremy Roenick jersey as worn in the 1998 Olympics held in Nagano, Japan.
The United States first participation in the Olympics in which the NHL suspended it's season to allow it's players to compete was a disappointment for the US team, as they went 1-2 in the Final Round Group A with a 4-2 loss to Sweden, an expected 5-2 defeat of Belarus and a 4-1 loss to Canada followed by a quick exit from the tournament after a defeat by the eventual champions the Czech Republic by a score of 4-1. Roenick had one assist in four games for the Americans.
Here is Roenick's ultra-quirky 500th career goal, which came after a dump-in aimed no where near the net and expertly guided into his own net by Alex Alud after a series of rebounds and odd deflections. By the time the puck ended up in the net, Roenick was lucky to not be sitting on the bench!
Dasherboard: The NHL General Managers are set to discuss the Trapezoid Rule at their meetings which limits the area behind the goal line in which goalies are allowed to handle the puck. The rule was put into place in order to make it more difficult for the defensive team to clear the puck out of their own zone and thus create the league desired "more scoring chances".
One argument against the rule is that it has resulted in more injuries, as players take long runs back into the zone in an effort to gain control of the puck, attacking players have been plastering defensive players into the boards with a frequency and ferocity that did not exist before when the goalie would retrieve the puck and send it back the other way or around the boards to a teammate, negating the chase to the puck that happens now.
If the trapezoid is removed for safety reasons, how could they not implement no-touch icing at the same time, a proven danger to defenders for years. If you don't believe me, or Don Cherry, just ask Kurtis Foster.
Which bring us to our point. If they do keep the Trapezoid Rule in order to maintain the beloved "scoring chances" how on Earth can they still allow the hand-pass in the defensive zone?
It's the worst rule in hockey. The basic premise of the game of hockey is to move the puck forward with your stick. Your stick. The hand-pass goes against the basic tenant of the game, helps the defense and it's aesthetically the worst looking play in hockey.
It's stupid to allow it for half the players on the ice in only one-third of the playing surface. Either let everyone do it everywhere, or don't let anyone do it anywhere.
I believe it was first instituted years ago because defenders were making hand passes on purpose to create stoppages in play while killing penalties, allowing for line changes for the defense, and it was viewed at the time that allowing the hand-pass would keep play moving.
The simple solution would be to outlaw the unsightly hand-pass and call anyone guilty of making one from now on for a delay of game penalty, putting the offending team now two men short and... creating more of the beloved "scoring chances".
The hand-pass is terrible to look at when it happens, goes against the basic spirit of the game and does nothing but make life easier for the defense. Get rid of it!