Who replaces Roenick as NHL's quote machine?
For the first time in 21 years, Jeremy Roenick isn't around to liven up an NHL training camp and satisfy the media with a delicious quote or sound bite on a pressing league issue.
Nowadays, the nine-time NHL all-star and two-time Olympian is tending to business off the ice with his insurance or apparel companies, his golf course in Pembroke, Mass., or helping launch and promote a new energy drink.
But unlike some retired players who distance themselves from the game early in retirement, the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" won't apply to J.R. during the 2009-10 campaign.
That's because the former San Jose Shark, Phoenix Coyote, Philadelphia Flyer and Chicago Blackhawk plans to continue being outspoken at a "very high level," whether it be through the print or broadcast media, internet, on his website or personal appearances.
"I might be gone, but I'm not gone," Roenick told CBCSports.ca recently. "I will still be getting emails on my website calling me an ---hole for some of the things I say. I like everybody's opinion.
"I don't say things for other people's approval. I say things because of why I think it's right. I still remain a public figure, regardless of whether I'm playing or not."
So, in Roenick's absence, who steps up this season as the NHL's quote machine?
To kick off a five-part series of predictions on the lighter side of the game, CBCSports.ca enlisted Roenick, Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake, NHL player agent Kent Hughes and Canadian women's hockey player Jennifer Botterill to weigh in on the topic.
Roenick: The only guys I can think of that have the balls to speak their mind and to say things that are a little bit off the chart and off the record are [Marc] Savard in Boston and maybe [Washington star forward Alex] Ovechkin.
I think Ovechkin has the ability to say exactly what he wants to say, being off the cuff, being a little bit crazy, being a little bit edgy.
And I think Savard has the cockiness and arrogance to push the envelope. Plus, he's got the ability to back it up. When you have a guy like that who puts up the numbers (88 points in 82 games last season) and plays as well as Savard does, yet is not afraid to throw an un-clichéd response out there, that's a good quality to have.
Oake: I certainly lament the fact that [Roenick] won't be probably the go-to guy any longer. I like the colour he brought to the game. I like that he would tell you exactly what he was thinking, no matter how outrageous it might be. Most players in the NHL, let's face it, avoid it at all costs. Sadly, I don't see anyone out there quite like J.R.
Our best chance for outrageous quotes this year may be for the Russian players who are interviewed by publications back home and then claim they were misquoted or translated incorrectly from those remarks published in North America.
Hughes: That's easy, Ovechkin. It's his willingness to address any issue. There may be others but their quotes may not get the same kind of attention, in terms of having a profile and a willingness to say whatever it is he thinks. He's the perfect replacement for Roenick.
If you're trying to establish yourself as a National Hockey League player or you're an average National Hockey League player and you make bold comments or predictions, you're going to feel the wrath from players. I don't think Ovechkin will.
Botterill: I feel [Alex] Ovechkin is a natural already. He just says it like it is or whatever he's thinking and it seems people appreciate that. Some of the things he says are a little out there but people probably find it refreshing. It keeps them entertained and you don't know what he's going to say next.
TOMORROW: Who should be recognized as the best-dressed NHL player?