My bad, JR

06Oct07

An open letter to Jeremy Roenick:

Hey, JR — can I call you JR? — I’ve gotta tell you the truth. Way back when, back when you were the core of the Chicago Blackhawks, you scored a goal late in the third period to send a playoff game with the Colorado Avalanche into overtime. I was watching the game with my dad (who, unlike me, has not give up his Hawks fandom), and just before that goal, he remarked about how it’s been a good season. As the puck crossed the line, I turned to him and said (well, more like yelled — I was pretty excited at the time) to never give up when JR’s on the ice.

Of course, the Hawks lost the game and series in OT. But that’s besides the point.

I’ve mentioned on this blog that I was ridiculously stoked about you coming to the Sharks. Even when the preseason seemed to be dismal, I kept up my optimism. Not going to start opening night? Hey, that’s fine — you’d get your time. Devin Setoguchi’s too hurt to play? Sweet, here comes JR, he’ll prove them all wrong.

Well, damn if my fanboy-vision didn’t get cleared up with that first game. Things weren’t looking too good for you, so bad that you only had one shift in the third period. The next day, I told a friend (who is also a fellow lifelong JR fan) that I thought you were done, that you should hang them up.

Essentially, I did the exact opposite of what I told my dad the night of the Hawks/Avs playoff game. I gave up on you. And I just wanted to say that was totally my bad.

Last night, you played JR hockey. You threw your body around, you crashed the crease, and you got in the right place at the right time. You even were able to keep up with Milan Michalek and the ridiculously fast Torey Mitchell. For one night, you proved me wrong, and I’m pretty damn happy about that.

Look, I’m sure you’ll have good nights and bad nights in a Sharks jersey. You’re definitely not going to keep up the 82-goal pace you’re currently on, but last night showed me that you’ve still got some gas left in the tank. You showed me that you can shake off a bad game and still play some of that JR hockey that I’ve seen over your career. Realistically, I think a good season for you, considering age and the youth of the Sharks’ roster, would be 15 goals and 25 assists over 60 games.

You think you can get that done? I think you can. Let’s see a good season of JR hockey (and don’t make me look stupid in my new #27 jersey — I already blew it last year with my Mark Bell jersey).

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