2006-07 hasn't exactly been a pleasant experience for Roenick, as his relationship with head coach Wayne Gretzky publicly collapsed after he decided to to watch the Coyotes play the Canucks from a Vancouver restaurant rather than from the GM Place press box after he had been listed as a healthy scratch. Things got worse when Roenick pulled an old saw out of his bag of tricks and asked to be traded to a contender, only to discover that the Coyotes couldn't find any takers.
It looks like all that's left for J.R. is retirement, something he pondered earlier this season:
"I'll keep a little glimmer of hope and see how the year ends. But I'm tired and my body is beat up, and it gets harder and harder every game. I'm enjoying my team and being in Arizona, but I'm probably, not definitely, but I am thinking of calling it a career."When Mike Modano scored the 500th goal of his career and then passed Joey Mullen to become the leading American-born scorer in NHL history, there was a lot of talk about where Modano fit in the history of the game, especially when it came to talk about the greatest American ever to take to the ice.Not long ago, Roenick would have been included in a conversation like that one. But like fellow Americans Brett Hull and John LeClair, things were never the same for Roenick after he returned from the season-long lockout. Then again, maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. After all, nobody could ever accuse Roenick of dogging it, as he dealt out, and absorbed, as much punishment as any player over the course of his career.
Now that it looks like the end is near, and the career goal total will likely end at 494 -- only 12 behind Modano -- perhaps his legacy will be one of a good, and occasionally great player that entertained fans both on and off the ice. If he does retire, here's hoping he enjoys it, and that somebody, anybody, finds him a job behind a microphone talking about hockey.