San Jose experienced it most recently. Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Chicago did before that. Even Los Angeles had the pleasure of having legendary NHL center Jeremy Roenick as a part of their team over his twenty year hockey career.
Roenick was a fan favorite everywhere he played, in large part because of his hustle. From the time he first stepped on to the ice in 1988 for the Chicago Blackhawks, Jeremy Roenick gave his all every shift, until he decided to take off his skates for the final time as a San Jose Shark in 2009. Jeremy Roenick made an impact on American hockey that very few players have ever done.
For me, Roenick created the ultimate confused young hockey fan. Growing up as the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks fan, yes, both teams, Roenick was somewhat of the best of both worlds as a player you love to hate, and then learn to love. Roenick gave nightmares to the Avalanche in the years when their Colorado era began, and then became the face of the Sharks as his career came to an end. Living as a fan that experienced both dealing with Roenick as an opposing player, and then finding myself cheering for him years later, I can attest to how big he was to the sport of hockey in the United States. He brought a level of excitement that up-and-coming players should aim to bring to the game.
It was announced today that Jeremy Roenick will be honored and inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in Minnesota later this year.
Roenick’s legacy includes stats like being the third-highest US-born goal scorer (513) in NHL history behind only Mike Modano (557) and Keith Tkachuk (538). Jeremy Roenick’s career with Chicago, one of the Original Six, included 267 goals, leaving him seventh on the Blackhawks all-time goals list.
Over his twenty year career Jeremy Roenick scored 1,216 points in 1,363 games, scoring 513 goals and handing out 703 assists. He was voted onto the All Star team nine times in his career, and in International play, helped the USA National team win a Silver Medal in the 2002 Olympics.
Roenick’s commitment to the sport could be experienced this last season while he was announcing the Chicago Blackhawks ended their Stanley Cup drought, Roenick couldn’t hold back the tears, which once again showed his passion for the sport of hockey that he passed along to fans and aspiring players.
image via yahoo
After the first period of play, it looked as if the San Jose Sharks had finally remembered how to play the way they had been the entire season. The Sharks were up 1-0, and just a few minutes into the second period, they had jumped to a two goal lead thanks to a goal from Patrick Marleau.
Ten minutes later the lead was erased by the Blackhawks who scored two more goals in the third period to finish off the sweep of the seemingly cursed San Jose Sharks. For the fifth straight season, despite consistently being one of the top teams in the regular season, the Sharks are eliminated without reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
For the Chicago Blackhawks, they return to the Stanley Sup Finals for the first time since the 1991-1992 season when they were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blackhawks last Stanley Cup Championship came all the way back in 1961. The 47 year drought is currently the longest running streak in the NHL.
The Blackhawks will face the winner of the Philadelphia Flyers versus Montreal Canadiens series. The Flyers currently lead the series 3-1 and will look to finish off the Canadiens in tonight’s game five in Philadelphia.
San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche fans are all too familiar with each other. It may be due to the two teams coming into existence about the same time. The Sharks became a franchise in 1991, while the Avalanche have been around longer, they were previously the Quebec Nordiques until 1995 when the team was moved to Denver, Colorado. Whatever it is, these Western Conference rivals have a distaste for each other that makes for some of the greatest hockey games in the NHL.
It seems as if every year the Sharks and Avalanche seem to find themselves facing off in the playoffs, and nothing is better for the game than repeated battles of a great rivalry. The playoff face-offs between these two teams started back in 2001-2002 when the Sharks won their first Pacific Division title. The Sharks were ousted by the Avalanche in the second round but it took a full seven game series to do so. A rivalry was born.
Nine years later the teams are battling each other again in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The series has been nothing short of epic.
In four games, three have needed overtime to decide a winner. The only game that didn’t go into overtime was decided in the final 60 seconds by a goal from the Avalanche’s right wing, Chris Stewart. Last night, the Shark’s Joe Pavelski evened up the series at two games apiece with an overtime goal in Colorado. If those stats don’t show the competitiveness of these two teams, then here is another that shows how evenly matched they are, through four games the teams have each scored nine goals.
Sharks, Avalanche, and NHL fans are already aware but if you’re a sports fan, then this is the type of rivalry and competition that keeps you glued to the television and waiting for game five Thursday night in San Jose, California.
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