The Savior is… Jeremy Roenick?!?

Okay before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, this is not a sacrilegious blog entry, it has nothing to do with religion at all. In this case ‘savior’ is just a descriptive word.

What’s New in the Coyotes Saga?

Word all over the tweetyverse today is about Jeremy Roenick (JR) and his involvement in the purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes. Why? Here’s what JR said (from AZSportsTalk.com):

“I have been involved with a group that is trying to get into the game. I do have people in New York, friends of mine, that are ready and willing to wait to see. But everything moves at a snail’s pace.”

“I have been involved in the background. I do have people that are willing to look at it and have the dough behind it. But getting involved in the National Hockey League … it’s kind of a boys club.”

“We’ll see what happens. But the team is very, very interesting. If you can somehow get a hold of the building along with the team, then it becomes a different scenario.”

Roc (Mike Muraco), of “Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch” (AM 1060) is a Coyotes fan, he knows hockey and the history of the club. At times, the only real coverage we would hear anywhere about our NHL hockey club were consistently negative stories from both the Canadian hockey press and our local press AND from Roc. He has the street cred to talk about the Coyotes.

Here’s a tweet from Lisa Halverstadt this morning (Arizona Republic/AZ Central, @LisaHalverstadt) summarizing her conversation with JR:

“Jeremy Roenick on his status with ex-Sharks CEO Greg Jamison’s group: “It’s very early.” Nothing on paper yet. #Coyotes”

Lisa has taken over the Coyotes saga reporting (not the sports side) chores capably. She follows leads, makes the calls, and stays on top of as much as she can, all the while dealing with the rabid Coyotes fans through the typical social media outlets. She has the street cred to talk about the Coyotes.

Craig Morgan (Fox Sports Arizona and CBS @cmorgancbsfoxaz), however, tweeted:

Roenick on his involvement in #Coyotes purchase: “Everyone is blowing this way out of proportion. I have a group that wants to look at it.”

Craig also has the cred and the tweet was later in the day than the other information.

Frustrated Coyotes fans (which, three years into bankruptcy and torture, incudes EVERY Coyotes fan) have lately taken to bickering about who said what when where how and why. We’ve also taken to, even after swearing we won’t do it yet again, grasping at any straws of hope including this one. I submit it isn’t important, and additionally you have to give the people covering this story the benefit of the doubt that, in deciding to share information with us, they have the best interest of the fans and the truth in mind. It should be obvious at this point that none of the players involved (City of Glendale, the NHL, the multiple potential buyers) have been forthcoming with accurate information at ANY time in the ordeal, making it nearly impossible to write an accurate story or make an accurate statement TO THE FANS in trying the to inform them what is happening with the negotiations. Rodney King said it best.

So, who is Jeremy Roenick?

JR lives in Scottsdale, we hear. Jeremy Roenick is an American NHL center who played for five different teams, one of which was the Coyotes. He retired in 2009 with 513 goals and 703 assists after having played in 1,363 games and appearing in a bunch of All-Star games. JR is in the US Hockey Hall of Fame and is included ‘in the game’ NHL12 on the NHL Legends team. Good stuff in anybody’s book, JR is the real deal. He’s now an analyst with NBC Sports.

Wait, what, you mean THIS GUY?!

Those of us who have been around Phoenix and the Coyotes (or NHL hockey for that matter) for any length of time know all about Jeremy Roenick. None of us have an opinion that’s shaded gray, the way JR is forces you to mentally choose the hate or love side. I’ve had the pleasure of having JR personally insult my magnificent mustache when I opined to him that having Donald Trump beat him in golf was actually funny, considering the athleticism and advanced age of Trump. Let it also be said that, having decided chosen which side of the Roenick fence to sit on, you will stay there forever. I dare say most people on either side have been on the other side of that fence at one time or another. That’s what JR does.

Jeremy Roenick was skating with the Flyers at this year’s Winter Classic alumni game. Beside the fact that he skated like a creaky old man while being schooled by Ron Duguay (yes I was/am a Rangers fan and can’t stand the Flyers and yeah Duguay also has better hair than JR), he was invited and participated enthusiastically from start to finish. One should at the same time note the absence of a famous Ranger from that same game, but more on that later. JR’s enthusiasm for the game of hockey, love him or hate him, can never be questioned.

JR played for the Coyotes from 1996-2001 and then again in 2006-2007. The second incarnation of Roenick in Phoenix was less successful, probably due in part to friction with then head coach Wayne Gretzky. JR has never had much use for anybody who didn’t want to play him every minute of every game, getting him into hot water throughout his career when he voiced his displeasure. That’s what JR does.

Another thing that JR does is give 100% to the game he is playing. The best example of this, in my mind, is the ‘broken jaw’ incident. Roenick was plastered into the boards by Stars player Hatcher in retaliation for a penalized hit JR made on Mike Modano, breaking JR’s jaw. There is a YouTube out there of JR after that incident wiggling his jaw back and forth, testing it. People get hurt in hockey, so what? The ‘so what’ is that Roenick played another 2 or three shifts AFTER that. That’s badass in anybody’s book, and that’s what JR does.

So, what can JR do for the Coyotes?

The best and worst things about Jeremey Roenick are the same, he is full of himself and will say whatever happens to cross his mind. While that may not be the best thing in a society of polite people, it would be the absolute best thing for the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Coyotes had Wayne Gretzky as a very expensive frontman (and head coach) for many unsuccessful years. Yes, THAT Wayne Gretzky, the only guy to have his number 99 permanently retired from the entire NHL. Everybody is second string compared to 99, right?

Wrong. Gretzky was too private a guy to do the frontman job for the Coyotes, or any NHL team. Gladhanding and schmoozing are not high up on Wayne’s list of ‘things I like to do’ while, on the other hand, they are five of the top ten things that Roenick likes to do. That’s what we need. We had Charles Barkley here with the Suns, that’s the kind of instant quote on a slow news day guy we need. We need a guy who is instantly recognizable by hockey fans and, more importantly, NON hockey fans in the valley. JR is the PERFECT guy for the job.

A perfect example of the potential marketing genius we’d get with JR is exemplified by the fact that I’m taking time out of a work day to add a blog entry and plenty of people are talking about the same thing. It is NO coincidence that Jeremy Roenick is playing (I think) in a Coyotes alumni game this evening (Friday, 02/10/2012) at the Ice Den in Scottsdale and then being inducted into the Coyotes ‘Ring of Honor’ tomorrow. How many more people are now at least interested in talking to JR than yesterday? Tons. Just what JR wants. Is it good for the Yotes? Yeah!

This is all based on the assumption that there is a competent group, such as the oft-mentioned Jamison group, to actually manage the club.

So, what now, Nostradamus?

I don’t have a clue. I remain more hopeful for a successful resolution resulting in keeping our team in Glendale for the forseeable future. I’m not sure what seeds, if any, of truth are within what JR has said. It could easily be all smoke and mirrors. I think that yes, potentially, Jeremy Roenick could be seen as the savior of the club.

That’s what JR does.

Comments

  1. Awesome prose!