So, I may have stolen the title of this blog from the NHL as it was their slogan years back but I doubt they will kick up any fuss, not for an old player like me(get the 50th reference to my favorite movie?). Hockey has been in my life since the second grade when I first stepped on the ice during an open skate at the state-of-the-art Rice Lake Ice Arena(by the way, I could skate my first time on the ice). My hockey roots actually go a lot deeper than that as my Grandfather reffed and coached and my Dad and Uncle both played and coached. My sister also played up through junior year or something and my brother wanted to be a goalie at one point but 3 kids playing hockey was a little much cash for a middle class family.
2-3 nights a week and every weekend for 6 months out of the year, hockey was king and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it. Spending that much time with the same group of people in small, cramped, shitty locker rooms(Spooner and Hudson are ones that come to mind), you tend to form relationships that will last a lifetime. That is how it goes with my best men Badger Dad(get married already), Busta, and Jigga. That is what is different about hockey and every other sport, the bonds you create with your teammates seem to last even though you may be living in 4 different cities in 2 states.
Now that the nostalgia is out of the way, on to the main point that hockey is really the coolest game on Earth. Even though I love the shit out of the NBA, the NHL has got it going on since the lockout in 04-05 and even before that. Rather than write paragraph after paragraph, I am going to make a list of reasons why hockey and the NHL are better than the rest(they might have turned out to be paragraphs but get over it and read up).
1. There are no more ties in the NHL. The shootout was a great decision and it allows the players to show off their unbelievable skills. There is nothing worse than watching a football game that ends in a tie or even a last second field goal. Kickers suck. It's like hitting 4 times during a hand of blackjack and getting 20 only to have the asshole dealer flip over 2 queens. Just lame.
2. Anybody in the playoffs can with the cup. This might be a bad example as the St. Louis Cardinals were a wild card and the NY Giants basically were too but the Stanley Cup finals this year features a 6 and an 8 seed. That means that the 8 seed(the 15th or 16th best team in the NHL during the regular season) can win the cup. That just wouldn't happen in the MLB, NFL, or NBA.
3. Speaking of the Stanley Cup, how about having the best trophy ever. Win the finals and you get to spend a day with this bad boy, not to mention you get your name inscribed on it as you cement your place in history. That's 34.5 lbs of pure happiness(still upset that Badger Dad got to touch it, fuck him).
4.Fighting but mainly goalies fighting. What other sport allows players to smash each others faces in only to be rewarded with cheers and a 5 minute breather? What other sport lets the two most important players(goalies) fight each other? Can you imagine Kobe and Lebron knuckling up then going back to the game? Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood did just this back in '97.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl2xMXXOw4M This just makes me smile :)
5. Scoring a goal. There is no better feeling than lighting the lamp and making the crowd go nuts. I just wish I had done it a few more times in my lackluster career.
6. GOOOOOOOOOAL, overtime game winners. Scoring a goal is pretty cool but one that ends a game or even a series, nothing better. Fun fact, 1 out of 3 games have gone into O.T. this year in the NHL playoffs. Can you imagine the ratings if any other sport had that ratio? Here is a spine tingling clip of just breakaway overtime winners from the past. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q6kwp0YLKo
7. The unmatched skill level. You want to see an artist, check this out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98mHbrwbLuA&feature=fvst That was a combination of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Pollack multiplied by Harry Potter. That goalie literally shit his pants. This is also pretty sick. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXTCJYGEQLQ
8. Playing through injuries. Yeah Michael Jordan played through the flu but has he ever taken a puck to the face, lost 3 teeth, got 15 stitches and returned the game in the same period? Didn't think so.
9. Hockey lingo. Lid=helmet. Pants=breezers. Biscuit=puck. Basket=net. Twig=stick(these $200 "twigs" break like they are made of balsa wood). Melon=head. Mittens=gloves. Wheels=skates. Sweater=jersey. A goalie's best friend=the pipe. Poopin em=getting so nervous that you make a terrible play with the puck. The big skate=lazy ass Alex Bina skating in a big circle instead of stopping and starting.
10. Best live sport to be at. Even as exciting as it is on TV, live games are even more fun. Temperatures in the rink are cool and you never have to sit in -20 or 90 degree weather. The game is up and down action with big hits, creative plays, and crowd pleasing goals. You can even snag a free puck if you are lucky enough. The refs rarely control the pace of that game like the NBA or NFL where a foul or penalty is called on every other play. Regular season games end in about 2 and a half hours and sometimes with a shootout. That's like the NBA ending regular season overtime games with a dunk contest. Can you imagine?
11. The devotion to the game. Give me the name of one player in the NHL who has held out because of a contract dispute? Still waiting. The highest paid player in the NHL makes less than $10 million compared to shit bird A-Rod who somehow still makes $25+ million a year. That is just insane. There are also no rookies getting $30, $40+ million in guaranteed money. The love for the game is real and money and stardom is never an issue. How do I know? Wayne Gretzky, The Great One on being traded from the Oilers to the Kings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4nE58aXXjU The man had 4 rings and all the money he could handle at this point and nothing to be sad about. He just loved Edmonton and the game of hockey.
12. The fans are also devoted. This is a video of a fan who is pissed of at DFH(Dany Fucking Heatley who played for the Badgers) because he basically under performed until he got traded. Just hilarious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwt3BmO1BvU
To me, it's plain and simple, hockey is the best and nothing can change that. I may be biased but go watch a 4 hour baseball game and tell me it was exciting. Another great year in the NHL is nearing its end but not before the New Jersey Devils send off 40 year old Brodeur with his fourth ring and a legacy that will never be matched. Get it old man!
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