Posts Tagged ‘nhl’

Over the past two or three years my opinion regarding hockey has moved from “It’s a silly sport that no one except silly Canadians care about” to “Holy shit, this sport is fucking awesome.”  This year especially, my exponentially increasing fascination with the sport spiked.  Before the start of the current NHL season, I could barely tell you the names of 5 Bruins.  I still don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I understand a hell of a lot more than I did in September.  A great chunk of credit goes to EA Sports’ NHL 11, which I play way too much, and a great chunk goes to BU hockey; however the lions’ share of credit goes to the fact that hockey is extraordinarily skill oriented, old fashioned, and straight raw.

The skill sets involved with hockey never cease to drop my jaw.  I’d venture to claim that hockey players are the most hand-eye coordinated athletes on the planet.  This conversation includes NFL wideouts and MLB hitters, among other quality stars.  Not to take away from the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Joe Mauer, but I doubt they could compete with Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk.  Take a look at these videos:

I mean talk about some nifty tricks.  Yeah I’ve seen some absurd football catches in my time (football is my favorite sport to watch, after all,) but even those are strictly completed with the hands.  Hockey players use a stick while skating on ice.  Bravo.

I love the old-fashionedness of hockey; you don’t see cheap ass sticks that look like they’re a sword in some nerd’s level 50 wizard staff made from rare elements of the periodic table.  No, hockey sticks are little more than a rectangular stick with a slightly curved head.  They aren’t even ergonomic.  Put it this way: if lacrosse sticks were as old fashioned as hockey sticks, every lax bro would be prancing around in high socks and a polo hat with one of these:


and not one of these:


Golfers would be practicing proper etiquette with a set of these:

and not these:


and Michael Phelps would be competing with Fort Knox for gold supply in one of these:

and not these:


Ok you get the point now.  But one more point on equipment tech.  With the influx of sleek and stylish padding, you’d expect players to look like they stole Batman’s suit.  But nope, they look virtually the same as they did 30 years ago.

Here’s a picture of the 1980 USA national team:

and this past Olympics’ 2010 USA team:

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of puck play is the rawness of the NHL.  What other league allows its players to fight?  That is assuming, of course, that fighting is not the main purpose of the league, like UFC.  I know there’s some nitpicking dweeb who would say that just to find a flaw in what I’m trying to get across.  In what other league do players (Alex Ovechkin, or so I’ve heard) stuff dip between their toes for the rush?  In what other league do players smile and show off an ugly gap?


Hockey players don’t prance around cracking jokes with their buddies on other teams.  Hockey players disgust each other.  And it makes for a hell of a show.

Bottom line, hockey needs more publicity than it receives here in the USA.  Last night, the Bruins murdered the Canadiens 7-0 in a game with huge playoff implications.  It was the first meeting between the B’s and Habs since Boston D man Zdeno Chara fucked up Max Pacioretty (skip to 1:00 for good views.)

In such a big game, you’d expect ESPN to at least spend some time covering it, but today at the gym I looked up and it was NFL Live with the topic, “How can the Saints get back to the Super Bowl?”  I mean come on, really?  Like I understand that football has a huge following in America and ESPN is maximizing ratings and trying to make a buck (or several billion,) but the Super Bowl is in like 11 months.  And hell there might not even be a Super Bowl next year.  Kind of annoying to see hockey being snubbed like that.  Cause it’s a great sport.




Oh, one other reason why hockey is awesome:

The players’ names sound so cool.

Pavel Datsyuk


Tukka Rask


Toews (pronounced like Taves)



Lundqvist (not a typo)

Manny Malhotra


Evgeni Malkin

Jerome Iginla


Just to name a few, you get the picture.  Just go look up an NHL roster and say some cool sounding words.