I know we all know this. But it can't be said enough. Hockey players are generally far-and-away superior to all other athletes. Hockey players are better.
Right after the Wings game last night, as I was still in my blissful excitedly frantic state, I came back and saw my friend watching a baseball game. I just caught a glimpse and saw two players from different teams sharing a cordial story or two and some laughs during the game. I joked that you would NEVER see that during a hockey game. In my all years watching hockey, I have never seen that happen (save for All-star games). And, of course, never anything remotely close to such a thing in the playoffs.
But, I've seen similar things happen in the Superbowl and NBA playoffs. And my reactions were exactly the same. Hockey players are better. They care more.
My friend didn't understand my point, so I tried to explain to him--something not so easy to do in words. It's more of a feeling/emotional thing really. But, I pretty much said that if you're so emotionally engaged in the game and truly care, two players from different teams just don't act nice to one another. It doesn't make sense. It just doesn't seem right.
He argued back that you 'don't have to hate the other players' and that baseball players/other athletes care just as much as hockey players, etc. It was a lost cause anyways, so I let it go. Bear in mind that he's similarly disagreed with me before when I claimed that hockey players are more humble and hard-working. Something I think even other athletes can acknowledge.
But, in thinking about hockey, I don't know any other sport where a home crowd can jolt the players so much. That just shows how emotional a game it is. Come playoff time, it's all about will, grit, determination and emotion. The rewards of hard work are immediately and readily apparent. When you look in Pavel or Nick's or Hank's eyes, you see a fiery spirit there. A will that won't give up. Just from their body language, you can tell they genuinely care. I simply don't get that same feeling from a lot of the players of the other 3 majors sports during their grandest stages. It's like win or lose, it's just a game to them and they still get their paychecks (or paycheques, for my Canadian friends.)
More so than any other sport during the playoffs, hockey players sacrifice anything and everything for the team. Not their stats or egos. They have to in order to win come playoff time. You just don't see that kind of cohesion within a team in other sports. Maybe it's why hockey players hug after scoring a goal. There's a powerful camaraderie between hockey players that's absent in other sports.
Regardless of what happens Thursday, I'm happy that my beloved Wings proved once again that they care just as much as the most die-hard of fans. Even further, there's no doubt in my mind that our star players simply care more than San Jose's. Could you imagine cheering for a team when you feel like you care more than some of the players? In my opinion, whether they realize it or not, I think most people do just that when watching other sports.
Hockey players are just better.
Everything I said has been said before. But if you agree with me, I thought it might be worthwhile to pause and appreciate how lucky we are to be fans of the greatest sport in the world.
In a game we pretty much absolutely have to win, how the hell do Salei and Ericsson get more even strength ice time thanf****** Nicklas Lidstrom? It's like Babcock thinks Lidstrom's a powerplay specialist now or something. If anything, that would be $6M man Rafalski.
Nick wasn't out for even a second of the penalty kill (which let up 2 goals...coincidence? Probably not when your best penalty killer isn't on the ice.) Kronwall and Stuart probably spent too much time killing penalties compared to the others--obviously wearing them out.
I haven't really felt the need to criticize Babcock so much before. Even if Lidstrom's lost half-a-step and isn't perfect anymore, he's still the one defenseman in the league I would want out there in any given situation. What was the point in limiting Nick's ice time all season? I would think it would be so he could play over 30 minutes in games like these.
EDIT: Also, I just had to mention how I loved seeing Flip, Mule and Hudler suck on the OT powerplay for 1:30 while I don't think Pavel and Hank even got the first 30 seconds. It was only the most important powerplay of our season.
Posted by Nevermind
on 08 February 2011 - 01:06 AM
You realize Meszaros is better defensively and more physical than Stuart, while being six years younger? Furthermore, Stuart is signed through next season, while Meszaros has two seasons more on top of that.
You realize that, for the most part, Stuart's been extremely solid for us in the last few playoffs? Sure, Meszaros is younger--but the times I've seen him play, he looks unsure and prone to mistakes (and please, don't bring up Stuart's Game 7 vs Pittsburgh; that was one game).
Why trade a proven guy who works in our system for one who's severely overpaid for 3 more years. Besides, Philly and Detroit are doing too well to make a shake-up trade like this. Also, Stuart might be injured past the deadline.
I didn't say it had to be a Tatar or Pulkkinen; but Philly won't just give up Mesz for Stuart. Trading for a quality mid-20s shutdown defenseman isn't free.
It only took a second round pick to convince Yzerman to dump his bloated salary. If we're going to give up a veteran player like Stuart, a 2nd and a good prospect, it should at least be for a better player.
Posted by Nevermind
on 07 February 2011 - 02:31 AM
There's the obvious choice to split Dats and Z. But let's say they stay together. So who centers the second line? Franzen? Hudler? Helm? Maybe it doesn't provide the general all-around player Flip is, but all of them are valid choices. If Flip were dealt, with no other roster players, for a goaltender to take the reins from Howard, I would like one of these:
Hudler is not a center in the NHL. It doesn't matter if he played center in Europe for his junior team or whatever. He lacks the speed, defensive conscious and more than likely the faceoff ability to ever play center in the show. And since Franzen started scoring goals, he's far better at wing.
Losing Filppula for a goalie forces us to keep Pavel and Z on separate lines. Though Fil's offensive consistency is frustrating, he's extremely solid defensively and has a lot of speed through the middle. We simply don't have another player who can adequately pivot the second line. In a cap world, Filppula's a very good second line center. Hopefully he hasn't reach his offensive ceiling quite yet.