It would have been nice for Gary to end his career in a playoff game, or perhaps back in the Stanley Cup Finals. You just don't expect a guy with his competitive level to end things with 20 something games left.
Roberts, who came to the Panthers with buddy Joe Nieuwendyk soon after the free agency period started after the lockout in 2005, spent parts of two seasons with the Cats.
He was traded at the 2007 deadline to Pittsburgh for Noah Welch. He played two seasons with the Pens, helping them to the Finals last year. He signed a nice contract with the Lightning during the offseason, a contract that hamstrung his hopes of being picked up off waivers.
Roberts has a huge base salary and a bonus for every game he plays. There aren't many teams that can squeeze that in.
I always enjoyed talking with Gary during his time here, but more so since he left. Now that I'm not 'the enemy' in covering him on a daily basis, talks between us have been much more open and candid. I can see why teams would want a guy on their team. A real team guy, a good mentor for the young kids.
Some of those shakes he makes look pretty gross, though.
-- The numbers -- Games: 1224; Goals: 438; Assists: 472; Game winning goals: 52
-- Olli Jokinen joins the Flames and scores two quick goals to help Calgary bust down the Flames. Mike Keenan heard TSN's Matthew Barnaby be very critical of Olli during the trade deadline, saying people close to Olli called him a locker room cancer.
Fun stuff indeed. A number of people have called and email me to talk about Olli The Cancer, and this is the jist: I never thought Olli was a locker room cancer. He used to be beloved and followed by almost everyone in that room. Last November when rumors surfaced that JM was shopping Olli, it was a unified front. Guys were ticked.
But Olli lost that. By the end of last year, he was on an island -- it was him, Nathan Horton and to a lesser extent, Ville Peltonen. Olli did create some cliques midway through last year, and it separated the room. But to call it a cancerous situation, well, that's just not so.
Had Olli came back this year, things could have been smoothed out. I don't know what happened in Arizona, but I hear Wayne Gretzky was not a fan of Olli's, and the feeling was mutual. Arizona wasn't a good fit for Olli Jokinen; Calgary, in my opinion, is. He'll be just fine there.
-- Not much happening today at practice, although Nick Tarnasky took a shot off a foot and was in some serious pain. ''This is now my bad foot,'' he told trainer Dave Zenobi by the bench.
-- Pete DeBoer says Tomas Vokoun is back in net Saturday against the surging Blues but hasn't decided what to do about the 12th forward or the sixth defenseman.
-- Yesterday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, the Panthers losing to Pittsburgh sure didn't help the cause. Florida's loss -- and a win by the Rangers -- means there is a three-way logjam for sixth between the Panthers, Rangers and Penguins. The JokiKeenans beating Philadelphia did help things out.
-- Today's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't all at the Watchmen)
Flames @ Hurricanes, 7: Panthers root for old pals Mike Keenan and Olli Jokinen for a second straight night. Carolina is in 10th right now, just a few points out. Florida would like to see that continue.
Blues @ Lightning, 7:30: This doesn't effect the Panthers' playoff run at all, but the Panthers play the Blues tomorrow, so there's definite interest in this one.
Canadiens @ Thrash, 7:30: Habs are still struggling and the Thrashers appear to have packed it in. If Montreal loses this one, they might be done and done.
Coyotes @ Sabres, 7:30: Buffalo beat up on Montreal on Wednesday and get a Coyotes team that may have lost some parts but definitely haven't cashed in the chips just yet. Coyotes might get to see old goalie Mikael Tellqvist in net against them. Tellqvist was traded to the Sabres on Wednesday.
|2||New Jersey||64||42||19||3||87||199||155||22-10-1||20-9-2||8-2-0||Won 4|
|7||NY Rangers||65||33||24||8||74||163||177||19-10-4||14-14-4||3-4-3||Won 2|
|13||Tampa Bay||64||21||31||12||54||165||207||11-13-8||10-18-4||3-6-1||Lost 1|
|15||NY Islanders||64||20||37||7||47||156||210||14-14-5||6-23-2||4-5-1||Lost 1|
|1||San Jose||63||42||11||10||94||209||156||26-3-4||16-8-6||5-4-1||Lost 3|
|12||St. Louis||63||28||27||8||64||173||186||16-12-5||12-15-3||6-2-2||Lost 1|
|13||Los Angeles||64||27||28||9||63||169||188||14-13-8||13-15-1||3-6-1||Won 1|