Jeremy Roenick addressed the Bay Area media for the first time and stated exactly why he is a good fit for Team Teal.
“I’m coming to the rink with a big smile and a lot of energy,” said Roenick. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in the press box or playing with Big Joe. My job is to work hard and help us win the Cup. I want to bring out the best in the young guys.”
As for his position on the ice, Roenick isn’t too concerned.
“Center is the position where I’m most comfortable, but if I’m on a wing, I can adjust,” said Roenick. “If I’m on the ice playing, I’m playing hard. Even if they need me on D, I’ll be there.”
“I’m not here to stick JR on the fourth line or have him change,” said Wilson.
For a man who was ready to hang up the skates, Roenick is as giddy as a rookie, which is very impressive for a man ready to retire a few months ago.
“I was on the golf course every day. I just finished my dream home in Arizona and moved in three weeks ago,” said Roenick. “Then I couldn’t wait to get out. You can’t understand my excitement level. (The last few years) we lost more than we won. Coming to a team like this is such a lift emotionally.”
The golf course didn’t put Roenick too far behind on the training schedule.
“He is in pretty good shape considering how late he found out he was playing,” said Wilson. “It’s not quite like Teemu Selanne, but a lot of people laughed when Anaheim signed him.”
Roenick mentioned how Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson has been a big part of his hockey life.
“He was my first roommate,” said Roenick. “Doug is one of the most respected men I’ve come across. He taught me a lot about being a pro on and off the ice, not that I listened to everything. I’ll sacrifice every bone in my body.”
Roenick may remember Wilson for the start and finish of his career.
“This could be the last year and I thank Willie for that (chance),” said Roenick.
Roenick is known for not only being a likely Hall-of-Famer when he retires, but also as one of the game’s best ambassadors.
“The 82-game schedule is a grind, but he’ll keep it interesting,” laughed Thornton. “He’s a funny guy and he’s been great for hockey. You guys (the media) should stay really close to him.”
Alexei Semenov got a first hand look at what the hands of Joe Thornton
can do. Coming up the rush on the left wing, Thornton found Semenov across the ice through five sticks.
“I wanted to give it back to him,” said Semenov on returning the favor.
Semenov enjoyed his first complete practice with his new club.
“It was a pretty good first day,” said Semenov. “It was a little slower for me with a new team, but it was a pretty good first day.”
BEING IN SHAPE
Training camp is now the spot where jobs are won and lost and those out of shape are out of jobs.
“It’s a 12-month a year job,” said Joe Thornton
. “Everybody comes back in excellent shape. Nobody is chubby any more (unlike the old days). This is the best I’ve ever seen.”
The Sharks training facility has a cute photo up of a young fan standing in front of Jeremy Roenick from back in his Chicago days. The future first rounder happens to be Logan Couture
As for Couture, he got his first taste of the real action with the big boys and played with Brad Norton and Riley Armstrong on his wings.
“It’s a lot quicker,” said Couture. “The first couple of shifts, I was just shocked to be on the ice with some of the guys I was watching on TV last year. It was pretty unbelievable. The speed and strength mean you have to make the play right away.”
Couture’s junior club is playing their exhibition schedule now and his mind is on the team he could be returned to, as well as the one he is trying to make.
“They’re playing tonight,” said Couture. “Obviously I’m hoping to make it, but if not, it is a great learning experience just to be here.”
While many are watching the roster battle between Thomas Greiss
and Dimitri Patzold for the final goalie position, Evgeni Nabokov sees them as both as competitor to his number one job.
“The only thing I can control I on the ice,” said Nabokov. “If I’m not (ready), one of those guys will step in. In my mind they are really good goalies. People don’t say this is the best league in the world for nothing. There is always somebody ready to compete for this job.
With Scott Hannan’s departure to Colorado, Nabokov addressed how the team will fill the defensive hole.
“You’ve got to know our young kids,” said Nabokov. “The scouts know what they can do. We’ll be as good as we always are on defense.”
GOOD 1ST DAY
Day one of training camp went off without a hitch for Team Teal as the club hit the ground running with a practice and scrimmage, a schedule that will continue until preseason games begin.
“It’s basically a game every day with the scrimmages,” said Wilson.
The battles will allow young and old a chance to display their abilities in the fight for positions.
“At the meeting last night, we pointed out Vlasic,” said Wilson. “If you see your name last on the list, Vlasic was at that point last year.”
The on-ice scrimmage resulted in a 4-3 victory for Team White, whose goals were scored by Rob Davison, Curtis Brown, Dan Spang and Joe Thornton
. The losing side’s goals were tallied by Steve Bernier, Patrick Rissmiller and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Bernier probably had the highlight of the day when he bolted down the right side, slipped under his defender and then forced the netminder down before putting the puck to the far side.
Thornton’s goal was an easy tap-in via a Luke Fritshaw assist that resembled a Thornton pass.
Vlasic could not view his goal though as he was flattened by Davison when he let the puck go.
“Davey hit me and I didn’t see if it went in,” said Vlasic. “You don’t mind the hit as long as it goes in.”
Not that the hit would have bothered him anyway.
“I’m not mad about it,” said Vlasic. “It is part of hockey.”
The Sharks will scrimmage again at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Sharks Ice at San Jose.