Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MLB vs. NHL-Why I Love Hockey Players #3

These two photos from the last two days point out to me the difference between hockey players and other athletes. Barry Bond's personal relationships appear largely metaphysical or spiritual. In Barry's world it is all about Barry. The other Giants should just feel lucky to share the same uniform and bask in the glow of his greatness. He went on to be predictably surly and self-absorbed in his post-game press conference. What a prick.

Hockey is a team game. You rise and fall as a team. Selfish guys don't last long (ex. Sean Avery) and often drift from team to team around the league (ex. JR). The other pic is from last night's thriller. The elation and the raw emotion are real, and the joy is a shared joy. Nic Wallin climbing the wall after his goal in the OT is another example. This Hurricane squad is a band of brothers.

This dynamic is what makes the hockey experience exponentially more appealing to me than baseball, basketball (Stephon Marbury) and even football (ex. TO). The Oakland A's of the 1970's hated each other-they all hated Reggie Jackson, but they won a couple of World Series. Kobe and Shaq hated each other, but they won a couple of rings. Teammates lived in fear of the public scorn of Michael Jordan, but he led them to multiple NBA titles. This kind of clubhouse dynamic just doesn't fly in the NHL. Dysfunctional families crash and burn in our sport (ex. LA Kings, Vancouver Canucks). Makes me remember the 1979 Pirates team with Willie Stargell, those hideous yellow uniforms, silly caps and,"We are family..."

Game three in the swamps. Let's see if the 'Canes road mojo holds.


Miss # 12 said...

I totally agree with you on the whole Barry Bonds thing. He is a prick. And with the Hockey thing. Its all so true. LETS GO CANES!

CasonBlog said...

Welcome Kaitlyn-The media is attracted to Barry Bonds like he's an ongoing train wreck. Big game three tonight. The Devils had a closed door meeting yesterday. Sure sign of a last desperate gasp!

Drew said...

I've long since left the NBA in my personal rear view mirror.

One thing to remember is that baseball and hockey are drastically different games especially with respect to how individual (offensive) acheivements are measured.

In baseball, the major offensive stats (batting average and home runs, I'm old school) are not dependent upon team play at all. Theoretically, I could bat .400 and hit 70 homers (nearing modern records) on a team that finishes dead last.

Hockey, on the other hand, requires at least some semblance of teamwork to have offensive success. Rick Nash may have scored 41 in 2003-04 on one of the worst teams in hockey, but he didn't even come close to approaching Gretzky numbers at 80 or 90 goals. And with the team Nash had around him, neither would have Gretzky.

So (without excusing the prickish behavior) one might say that baseball players are conditioned to revel in themselves while hockey players celebrate the team.