Friday, February 13, 2004

2/13 Notes

In what was their first game after trading for Sean Burke and sending Mike Comrie off to Phoenix, the Flyers certainly had a rough night Thursday in their game versus the Rangers. Gritty center Jeremy Roenick was struck in the mouth by a rising puck off of a faceoff, something that is rare for JR, who has a keen presence of mind on the ice. But the results of the play were brutal. JR slumped to the ice in a pool of blood, and was unconscious for several minutes. As he was helped to his feet, his mouth was full of blood and his jaw appeared limp:
"When I came to I was spitting up blood. I just made sure I didn't choke on my blood."
The Madison Square Garden crowd gave Roenick a cheer and as he left the ice, and was later helped onto a stretcher. It was pretty clear what the damage was going to be. JR is in bad shape. He has a broken and lacerated jaw:
"Jeremy got hit point blank with a puck on the left jaw, sustained a very bad fracture of the left jaw ... he was out pretty much for three or four minutes. The jaw is a problem and I'm sure he's going to need surgery on that." (Dr. Andrew Feldman, Rangers' physician)
As a Wings fan, I remember when JR rejected an offer from the Wings during the summer of Hull and Luc, and how he then accepted an equal offer from the Flyers. It was the summer of 2001, and Roenick was in a Detroit metro area Birmingham hotel room when he made the decision. He says he was "probably two minutes" from signing with the Wings. After having dinner with Ken Holland and his wife, Tracey, June 28th, Holland dropped them off at their hotel at 8:30 PM. It seemed like it was a done deal for the Wings at this point. But the Flyers called Roenick's cell phone and gave him 30 minutes to accept an offer of 5 years, $37.5 million. Factors that Roenick weighed-in included friend and Flyer Rick Tocchet's advise to go to Philly, Roenick was "a little wary of the goaltending situation" in Detroit, and the Roenicks wanted to live near horse farms. It'd be pretty bad if stinkin' horse farms were the reason JR isn't wearing the Winged-Wheel, but I guess he had a better feeling about Philly. Money wasn't the issue with JR, as the offers from Detroit and Philly were identical. It's pretty ironic that he was worried about the Wings' goaltending decision, because the summer of Hull and Luc was also the summer of Dom. I find it really ironic that the Flyers have had an awful goaltending situation thusfar. Sean Burke was definitely a much-needed band-aid for the Flyers' goaltending woes. So, my point is that I have had some feeling of resentment that JR chose Philly over Detroit, but the fact remains that Roenick is a great ambassador to the game and plays with intensity and fire, and I love what he brings to the ice every game. In last year's All Star Game, I remember the first two periods were pretty same-old-All-Star-Game-glide-around-and-play-no-defense action, but then JR started to check guys and the third period was a battle. Roenick is an antagonizer, and opposing teams hate him. What Jeremy Roenick does on the ice is pure passion, and I hope that he isn't out too long with this terrible injury. In the same game, the center Keith Primeau had a nasty collision with Ranger Bobby Holik, in what amounted to a head-to-hip check:
"He got his bell rung. He's feeling a little better now. We'll give you a better update (Friday) at practice." (Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock)
The Flyers have had really bad luck this season when it comes to injuries, but it looks like Primeau is fine. I'm really excited about the Valentines Day (Massacre?) Wings-Avs game, above and beyond the fact that it will be a great game between two highly-skilled teams. I guess I have a feeling that the Foote incident, while likely "unintentional" (however that can be defined), might spark a fire in the rivalry, at least a one-game flame. The Wings definitely are mad that Colin Campbell decided not to suspend Foote, and there's a question of why a less-than-two-second faceoff drop led to blood. And it was the Captain on the receiving end. I don't want to exaggerate what happened, but here's some Wings-Avs video clips to hold you over until a possible Saturday afternoon brawl: McCarty v Lemieux Vernon v Roy Osgood v Roy


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