Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mr. Gary moving down that road

PG breaks news:

"He very much enjoyed his time there," Curran said. "But he understands that Ray [Shero, the Penguins' general manager] has a number of items on his agenda that would take priority."

Curran added that Roberts, 42, "most definitely" intends to continue his career and will decide where after reaching unrestricted free agency next Tuesday.

Seth at Empty Netters, as usual, knocked the ball out of the park with a lot of great youtube clips of some of Roberts most memorable moments.

Before Roberts and Georges Laraque the Penguins were a skilled team that got knocked around, and let themselves be abused. Shortly after the two arrived a new fire and attitude was instilled. You saw guys like Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik more willing to drop the gloves to stand up for a teammate. We have it on good account that younger teammates got into the “Gary Roberts facts” and were almost as awed by Roberts presence as the fans were.

Roberts may have only laced ‘em up for 57 games with the Pens and was only with the organization for about 15 months, but it’d be hard to find a player with a bigger impact. Even last summer when hockey was over, younger guys (including Sidney Crosby) spent time with Roberts: training with him like the maniac he is, eating is horrifically healthy diet, and yes, we suppose drinking the Fiji water.

So in many ways Roberts announcing his separation from the team and fans that so embraced him is saddening. But Puck Daddy thinks this could be a good thing for the Pens:

But the shock isn't that Roberts is leaving. It's the shock that despite all the Evgeni Malkin free-agent discounts (is that Geno or Gino?), the Penguins team that played for the Cup is effectively dead.
Roberts is gone, Hossa will be gone, any number of other grunts will be gone. (And yet Therrien remains ...) What is lost on many of my Pittsburgh friends is that this is a good thing. Your team was a bridesmaid. Complacency leads to the 2007-08 Ottawa Senators; modification means that the Penguins, going forward, can build a team that will win a Cup rather than one that might. Keeping around a fourth-liner who is two years
younger than the head coach doesn't achieve that goal.

Wyshnyski makes a valid point, change is vital and necessary to get over the top. Roberts would have been, at most, a 3rd line winger, and given his injury history (he’s missed at least 10 games every season over the past six) and age (42), it’s unlikely the salary he’d want would make him a good signing from a pure business perspective.

The Penguins won’t be able to replace his intensity, but they will be able to use what they’ve learned, individually and collectively, going forward.

We've been watching a lot of the Discovery Channel series 'When We Left Earth' and can't help but think of the the metaphor that could be used between veterans like Roberts and the big Saturn V rockets that generated the force needed to go past the bounds of Earth's gravity. Both strong and do their jobs and even though it's jettisoned before the mission is completed, it's the reason you got there....In the future that's how we'll look back at the contributions of Gary Roberts.

If there’s one thing the editor here feels sad for, is not so much Roberts departing, but him doing so after coming so close and falling short of the Stanley Cup. But, sometimes in life that’s the way it goes. So long, Gary, and thanks for everything.

1 comment:

The Peerless said...

I suspect that there is a suicide watch at The Pensblog