The news here isn’t that Jeremy Roenick found a microphone, but what he said.
Roenick has always been known for being “well spoken,” and on Sunday he made his first appearance as a featured guest on NBC’s NHL Game of the Week coverage between periods. When the crew broke down the USA Olympic roster, Roenick said young Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is the best American born player since Mike Modano.
Thanks, JR. No pressure there.
But Roenick’s compliments to his former team apparently ended when the cameras turned off on Sunday. Wednesday morning, Roenick appeared on ESPN 1000′s “Waddle and Silvy” show and had some choice words regarding the current Blackhawks chances in the playoffs this year. After allowing four goals to Ottawa on Tuesday night, Cristobal Huet ended up between Roenicks’ crosshairs.
“Can Huet bring them 16 games? I say no, I think he can probably get you through two rounds. To go 16 games, you need a goaltender that is going to stand on his head and is going to steal games.”
Roenick also spoke about backup netminder Antti Niemi, saying, “Niemi is a good goaltender too, don’t get me wrong, they just need that one little extra boost in goal that I think that would make the guys more confident in front of him. And if those guys are even more confident than they are right now, that team will be unbeatable. They are still two good goaltenders, but I don’t know if they could do it for the full 16 wins.”
Neither statement reads like much of a vote of confidence. Roenick went on to say that he thinks the Hawks could “get by” with Huet and Niemi and net, saying the skaters are good enough to make up for questionable goaltending. He also said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Blackhawks traded for an elite goalie before the March 3 deadline. After all, as Roenick said, “I’m telling you, that team is poised this year to win a Stanley Cup as good as they are.”
The more time Roenick spends in front of a microphone with his former team in first place, the more questions he’ll have to answer about these Blackhawks. Given Roenick’s track record for saying any, and everything, the next few months could be a lot of fun.