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Roenick torn over Cup final between former teams

San Jose centre Jeremy Roenick the day after Sharks the Sharks were eliminated from the 2009 playoffs.

Paul Sakuma

Jeremy Roenick isn't usually short on opinion. But a Stanley Cup final between two of his former teams is driving the outspoken commentator crazy.

He can't make up his mind about whether he'd prefer to see the Philadelphia Flyers or Chicago Blackhawks win the NHL's championship series.

"I could never have imagined Philly and Chicago being in the final like this," Roenick said Monday morning at United Center. "I gave a lot of blood and a lot of energy to both teams to try to win a Cup and didn't get there. Now seeing them here, one of them is going to win it now - so it's kind of like that pit in your stomach.

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"I missed out but I'm glad that both cities are getting the opportunity to get it. They both deserve it, without question."

Roenick broke into the league with the Blackhawks in 1989 and was a key member of the team that was swept by Pittsburgh in the 1992 Stanley Cup final. He spent three seasons in Philadelphia toward the end of his career, getting as far as the Eastern Conference final in 2004.

He clearly has an affinity for both cities and was quick to break down the differences between them.

"Fans, I think they're a little more lenient here - Philly they're going to run you out of town," said Roenick. "I think if you go nightlife, Chicago's better. If you're going to go food, I'd say Philly's probably better. Philly's one of the best food cities I've ever been in. Chicago has a little bit nicer people.

"Women? Chicago has prettier women."

Roenick retired from the NHL at the end of last season and is working as a commentator for NBC during the Stanley Cup.

During his playing days, he never met a microphone he didn't like and wishes more of today's players had the same attitude. He thinks the playoffs suffer when guys aren't exchanging words in the media - as he famously did with Patrick Roy during a series in 1996.

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"People now are boring as crap and I don't want to listen to them," said Roenick. "It's a yawner. I still hear the same old clichés ... (Patrick Roy and I), that was one of the classics and you don't get that any more, unfortunately."

Philadelphia and Chicago have each been beaten the last five times they reached the Stanley Cup final. The fact one of those droughts will soon end is the biggest positive for Roenick.

"I love both cities," he said. "The fans in both cities have literally treated me like their own son. I can't root against or for any of them. Again, I work for NBC so I've got to be neutral.

"I win either way. I think this is great for hockey."

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