Wednesday, July 22, 2009

JR to Retire?

It looks like it might be imminent, given this highly readable interview. Maybe the reports of his retirement are premature; either way, read the article. He offers his thoughts on the Coyotes trouble (silly to move the arena to way out in Glendale), and just how much impact former teammate Chris Chelios has had on his career.

It's no secret your Chronicle staff are all huge JR fans. He's a rare thing in so many ways:

1) An American NHLer.

2) A great American NHLer: 513 goals (36th of all time, and one of only 4 Yanks to score more than 500) and 1,216 points (40th of all time)

3) Unlike fellow great American NHLers like Mike Modano (simpering) and Keith Tkachuk (strong, silent type), he has an outsize personality that's a delight on and off the ice.

4) He went from scoring star to nonentity to, when Doug Wilson invited him to San Jose, third-line grinder with no trouble. The Sharks period saw a renaissance of a sort, and JR reveled in his new role. I can't think of many hockey players who've followed a similar trajectory.

So then, a toast. I'm raising my Evan-and-Coke, sir. Long may you flourish (as a commentator for either the Blackhawks or the Sharks?).

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