Many a tribute already here at the Chronicle about JR, and many more to come I'm sure. I feel as though it's my turn to chime in on who I believe is the greatest American born player of all time. 513 goals, 703 assists. Add in all he brought to the game off the ice, no question. Go ahead and stamp it. Greatest American born player, and I believe he should be in the HOF.
The only question now is in what capacity do Versus and NBC use him. Perhaps NBC can have the pretend coaches (Milbury and the MONSTER), well uh... pretend coach the pretend player? I've never really gotten why NBC does that by the way. Much less why they do it three times a game but that's another story. Nonetheless, I wonder if he will be in game or in studio.
Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I met JR? No... well, by all means let's have a listen: So, once upon a time I was at the World Cup of Hockey in Minnesota. JR wasn't playing, sadly, but he was in the broadcast booth. Several games into the tournament I had all sorts of autographs. I'm normally not into autographs, but I do think they look sharp on a jersey. In between the games I spot JR at the Zamboni entrance. Lots of people spotted him at the same time I did. Knowing this was probably my only chance to meet JR, I had to act. So I take off running. Leaping over rows of seats. Knocking small children out of my way (sadly, this part is not exaggerated). Until the moment I weave my way in front of the group, looking at JR face to face. Now, keep in mind I've been fortunate over my life to meet all sorts of "famous" people. Athletes, movie stars, singers... and I've only been nervous once... when I got to meet Stan Drulia a couple of years ago. Minor league hockey player and I was awestruck. Funny, I know.
For the most part, famous people are just people to me. But when I came face to face with JR I had absolutely nothing to say. Sweaty hands. More than likely urine running down my pants. He signed my jersey and I uttered what can only be guessed as a poor attempt at "thank you" and ran away (knocking over little kids again in the process).
So, thanks for the memories JR! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future...
MORTIMER PEACOCK ADDS:
Some JR highlights, ladies and gents. First, from his high-flying days with the Chicago Blackhawks:
And something from his days with Run-DMC:
Next, the reason why--after Ilya Kovalchuk--he's my favorite hockey player:
And finally, his 500th goal. Hilarious and touching, perfect really.