PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Jeremy Roenick has taken a lot of heat from Penguins fans lately, and on Thursday, he struck back.
Roenick joined "The Fan Morning Show" and said that Penguins fans have been treating him unfairly, tend to focus only the negative things he says and take his comments out of context.
Take, for instance, what Roenick said during NBC Sports Network's coverage of Eastern Conference Final Game 2 last week. During an intermission break, Roenick drew the ire of Pittsburghers by saying, "If I was Sidney Crosby right now, I'd watch the work ethic that Jonathan Drouin has on a nightly basis."
Roenick feels that far too much was made of that statement by Penguins fans.
"They have to listen to the context of the comments," Roenick said. "By no means would I ever, ever, ever compare Jonathan Drouin to Sidney Crosby. I mean, you've got to be an idiot (to do that)...Mike [Milbury] wanted to talk about Sidney, and how he wasn't moving his feet, how he's getting frustrated, how he wasn't doing the little things that he needed to do. I wanted to talk about Jonathan Drouin, how hard he was working...Because Mike said that [Crosby] wasn't moving his feet, he wasn't working hard enough, I said maybe Sidney tonight should watch how Jonathan Drouin is working. Watch his legs and how fast they're moving. Watch the speed that he has tonight. It was a reference of one game. It was a reference on a few plays and how the two players were working that specific night...and people all of a sudden take it to a new level."
Roenick said he's gotten plenty of unnecessary blowback from Pittsburgh fans on social media, referencing one incident that he found particularly baffling.
"Penguins fans have to understand that every time they're on Twitter, it's always negative," Roenick said. "For the last week-and-a-half, myself - especially myself - [I have] been nothing but positive Penguins. It's been as positive as I've ever been, and as positive as our network has ever been."
"You never see anybody talk about all the great things that we say. Like I said how Marc-Andre Fleury's one of my favorite players, how Kris Letang should be on the Norris Trophy ballot, how he's underrated, underappreciated in the league, he should be a Norris Trophy winner one of these days, [Evgeni] Malkin's one of my favorite players, how [Bryan] Rust plays. It's just continuing. But, you never see anybody say, 'Oh, yeah, it's good to hear us talking about that.'"
"As soon as I see the picture with Shawn Michaels with the HBK shirt on and it's [jersey number] 156, you know, all the numbers [of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel] added up that equal 156. I love that Shawn Michaels is supporting the team. I love it. It's awesome that he's doing it. I love that he's supporting his team, but I thought that adding up all of the numbers and putting one number on the back, it was just a little goofy to me. It was going a little bit too far, and I said, ah, the whole thing was going too far. Just having a little fun with it."
"My Twitter feed blows up. Bah, it's Jeremy Roenick, he's such an idiot! Did you hear what he said about this? I'm like, oh my God."
Speaking of Roenick's aforementioned controversial comments about Sidney Crosby, Roenick said that he expects Sid to have another solid performance in Game 7, given what we saw from him in Game 6.
"I thought Sidney was unbelievable [in Game 6]," Roenick said. "And I thought Malkin, even though he didn't score a goal, was so effective in his work ethic and the things that he did. The team really came out with a vengeance...and that goal by Sidney was sick the other day. It was sick. So, I expect more of the same tonight from him."
And believe it or not Penguins fans, Roenick is very upbeat about the team entering tonight's pivotal game, for a number of reasons.
"I think if the Penguins' defense plays like they did the other day…I really think that Pittsburgh is going to be too much," Roenick said. "I think that both teams are so evenly matched, home ice advantage is huge to me. I just was watching the way that Malkin and Sidney were playing in Game 6, and if they keep that level of play up, I don't see them not getting to the finals."
Roenick can be seen on NBC Sports' NHL coverage and can be heard on the "Roenick Life Podcast," available via his website, RoenickLife.com. Follow Roenick on Twitter @Jeremy_Roenick and keep up with the podcast @RoenickLifePod.
The interview can be heard here:
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