Once again, John Muckler has an opportunity to make a fan's dream come true. Jeremy Roenick, one of the NHL's best marketing tools of the past 15 years, is a free agent and is hoping to play for a Canadian team. Before you laugh this off, read the article below taken from the Canoe news services about what he's been up to recently. Then I dare you to say out loud that you wouldn't take this guy for $1M to be your third line centre for a year. Keep in mind that our current third line centre is Bryan Smolinski at $1.33M.
Adding to the case is that whether you realize it or not, our Sens are about to go through our first unwanted subtraction to the team in a little more than 48 hours (as of 6/28/2006, 5:00pm, Redden and Chara are not signed...). What better time to give your lineup a minor facelift and add a veteran player that speaks up and leads the way he does. Do you think there is anyone in the NHL that wants to win as badly as JR does?
As I said, read below about how JR has had a revelation about his hockey career and perhaps you'll join me in hoping that we sport a #97 in our lineup next year.
JR coming to Canada?
By PIERRE LEBRUN -- Canadian Press
Jeremy Roenick. (AP File/Terry Gilliam)
(CP) - Jeremy Roenick took a look in the mirror after the season and didn't like what he saw. So he's doing something about it.
"It was a nightmare season from hell last year," Roenick said Wednesday from Los Angeles. "The embarrassment of the season I had last year is enormous. So I've totally re-arranged my summer and re-dedicated myself to the game of hockey. "I'm working out and getting into the best shape possible that my body can get to. I want to make amends for a season lost. It was totally embarrassing."
The re-energized and re-focused Roenick will be an unrestricted free agent as of Saturday. And he knows where he wants to sign.
"I've always said I would like to play in Canada before my career is over," said the 36-year-old Boston native. "And it's one thing that I'm really anxious in doing. Don't be surprised if I end up on a Canadian team next week.
"That's something that's high on my list."
Whichever team signs him won't have to pay the $4.94-million US salary the Los Angeles Kings spent on him last season.
He's coming with a rebate this summer after putting up only 22 points (9-13) in 58 games during an injury-plagued season.
"It's not going to take much to sign me," said Roenick. "I'm not looking for the $2.5-million to $3-million deals, I'd like to go for a deal for less money and get some bonuses, which I can do at my age. I'd like my play to do the talking, get paid as to how I'm going to perform.
"I'm definitely going to be motivated by my performance," added Roenick. "And after what I'm doing this summer and the regimen that I'm on, as focused as I am back on the game of hockey, I feel very confident I'm going to have a big year next year - without question."
He points to Teemu Selanne as the best example.
The Anaheim Ducks winger was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy this past season after a remarkable comeback year, the 35-year-old winger scoring 40 goals and adding 50 assists after posting only 16 goals and 16 assists in his season with the Colorado Avalanche.
"I hope I can be exactly like Teemu Selanne was last year," said Roenick. "He had an atrocious year in Colorado, signed a contract with Anaheim and had one of his best years in a long time. And that's what I intend to do."
It all started with a meeting Roenick had with new Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
"He opened my eyes," said Roenick. "He kind of put me in a place where I haven't been in a long time. He made me aware of a lot of stuff that I've been neglecting for the last five years. There's a reason why I haven't been a dominant player for the last five years.
"And that's just not acceptable to me anymore."
The new Roenick needed a new lifestyle.
No more hanging out with his Hollywood buddies at clubs and living the life of a playboy athlete. He even changed his cellphone number to cut down on the temptations.
"Too many people are trying to get a hold of me and trying to get me to do things," he said. "It's time for me to take a step back."
When Roenick was traded to Los Angeles from Philadelphia last summer, it seemed like a match made in heaven. He's a natural in front of the camera and a great pitch man for the game.
With the NHL coming off a year-long lockout, Roenick did his best to sell the game. From appearances on Fox Sports TV's Best Damn Sports Show Period, to Carson Daly on NBC, to Party at the Palms with former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy on the E! network, Roenick was everywhere.
It was too much.
"I've been worried about too much other stuff, too much entertaining, too much TV, instead of getting myself in proper condition," said Roenick. "It's not fair to me and it's not fair to the people that I work for.
"So I'm changing. I want to try and finish off this sucker the right way."
Over a month ago Roenick started working out six days a week with renowned trainer T.R. Goodman, who also works with Chris Chelios and Rob Blake among others.
"I've been in the gym at 6 every morning, and I do double sessions three to four days a week," said Roenick. "I've been going at it for over a month here in L.A. I'm on a diet and just really committed to get in the best shape I can. I owe it to myself.
"No hanging out at clubs anymore, I drink only one day a week and when I say drink, I have one or two glasses of wine with dinner. So I haven't been boozing."
He hopes it's worth it.
"I'm 100 per cent committed to what I'm doing right now," said Roenick. "I'm praying to God that this works for me because I know I can play this game, I know I can play with anybody in the world.
"I know I can still play at a high level and still dominate this game."
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