Roenick not ready to retire just yet

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

He's been plagued by injuries, dogged by sagging numbers, scolded by his owner, got left off the U.S. Olympic team and he plays for a team that just fired its longtime coach and isn't making the playoffs.

It's pretty obvious how Jeremy Roenick's season is going, but he's the best quote in hockey, so it's worth asking anyway.

"It sucks," answered the colourful L.A. winger. "It's been the worst year of my career, without a doubt. But it's just one year. I've had 17 good ones, so I can deal with one bad one."

This one was so bad that he isn't sure if there'll be a 19th.

"The game is so hard and so fast these days, the body takes a beating, especially when you're an old bastard like me," said the 36-year-old. "It's kind of tough to bounce back. These young kids are so good. I don't even know the names of of some of them. But I look at their faces and they could be my kids. It's pretty scary.

"My body is yelling at me (to walk away) but my mind is keeping me around. A lot depends on the free-agent market. If I see something I like, I might (play next year). If not, it's been a pretty good career."

Then he catches himself, and shudders at the prospect of life without hockey.

"I love it. I've been around 18 years and it doesn't get any less exciting. I can deal without the BS every day, but playing hockey is great. The game, I still love to death."

So, upon further review, he vowed to be back next fall. Faster and stronger than ever.

"I'm going to have a very big summer of training and working out and I really truly believe I'll be back for another season. I don't know where it's going to be, but it's not going to end this way, that's for sure. I'm a stubborn bastard. I don't like to see my career end on a year like this."

Maybe he can take some longevity tips from Chris Chelios, still going at 44.

"He's a freak of nature, he's going to try and play till he's 50," grinned Roenick. "If anybody can do it, he can. But if I'm playing at his age, please shoot me."


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