Last summer, when the Sharks signed veteran Jeremy Roenick, I went on our KCBS Sports Fans podcast and criticized the move. I said it was sad that a young team like the Sharks would spend any money on a washed-up player, and strongly suggested (hell, I think I came right out and said it) that the only reason Roenick was playing one more year was to reach the 500-goal career milestone.
Now, with Roenick practically single-handedly having won Game 7 of the Sharks' first-round Stanley Cup series against Calgary (his 4 points in the game tied the franchise playoff record), I am ready to go the chalkboard and write 500 times: I was wrong.
Roenick is a future Hall of Famer, and his play this season has been inspirational and sometimes spectacular. In Game 7, he was everywhere. His second goal was pure Roenick: fire the puck on net, then chase down the rebound and snipe it in from a tough angle.
There are no givens in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This first-round win may well spring the Sharks on a run to the Cup itself. Or Dallas could derail the whole thing by picking the Sharks off in the second round.
But whatever happens, the Sharks will be getting a ton of help from a guy who seemed ready to leave hockey last summer a few goals short of the 500 plateau. Now, as he told interviewer John Shrader at HP Pavilion in the din after Game 7, he feels like he's playing on 18-year-old legs.
JR, my apologies. I was so wrong.