Friday, April 18, 2014

Ice Hockey: American Sports’ Annoying Little Brother

There is a clear and definitive reason that the NHL lags far behind the other three major American sports. A reason that fandom is restricted to north of the Mason-Dixon, and specifically only New England, the Tri-State Area, and the northern Midwest (and Canada if you count it, but c’mon now, I know you don't). A reason why a lockout –which every sport goes through- threatened the sustainability of the entire league.  A reason why I would rather watch Guy Fieri make a complete ass of himself on the Food Network than watch a hockey game. And that reason is:

Ice hockey sucks.

That’s right, you are hearing this from a native New Englander, one who grew up a mere 30 miles from where one of the Hockey meccas of the universe. The town where the Bruins became a member of the Original 6 and cemented their NHL legacy, where college hockey teams like BC, BU, and Northeastern regularly compete for collegiate hockey dominance and produce some of the nation’s best, and in a state that overall loves its hockey: and I cannot stand it. Here’s why:

Hockey is essentially glorified soccer. It’s an indisputable fact that everyone in America hates soccer (except the Binge’s own Subbi) but these same people worship the sport of hockey. Apparently they are too dense to understand it is the SAME THING. Here’s a breakdown: Nothing happens for 15 minutes. The puck, like the soccer ball, goes up and down the ice and maybe is shot a few times… and then all of a sudden – GOOOOAAAAAAL! Everyone goes nuts. Guess what? SAME exact thing happens in soccer. But for some God-only-knows reason, in most people's eyes, a 3-1 hockey game is thrilling, and a 3-1 soccer game is terribly boring. Ridiculous. Either accept both or none at all. To choose one is just hypocritical. Now, am I saying I wouldn’t attend a hockey game as an excuse to get hammered and yell at people? Lord, no. But I can do that anywhere, believe me.  All I'm saying is if you show me a guy that finds watching hockey on television incredibly exciting, I’m going to show you a liar.

The sport allows fighting. ALLOWS IT. You know a sport must be horribly boring to watch when it has to involve fighting in the rules to keep people entertained. Its as if the creators of hockey thought to themselves, "Damn this is gonna be tough to watch, better let em punch each other." And people always use the same argument “Oh fighting is part of the game, hockey players are tough, blah blah blah.” As an obese Ben Stiller so famously says at the end of Dodgeball:  spare me.  Every sport is brutally tough and physically demanding in its own ways. But hockey is the only sport that shoves their physicality in your face unnecessarily. It demands you to be aware of how tough it is.  Seriously... spare me.    

Look, the macho hockey persona makes me sick. These guys think they’re the toughest dudes on the planet because they got a black eye or had a couple teeth knocked out. Joke. Meanwhile, on an NFL football field, you usually see a stretcher or cart once a game.  Not saying that’s a good thing, or even a contest, but football tries not to make it a part of the game. Hockey has to.

  • Sidenote: I could add a bit in here about the low morality that the sport has introduced on our nation’s youth. Stories involving hockey dads killing hockey dads, youth coaches who do not act like role models, and of course, youths being encouraged to drop the gloves:   But this piece will always proudly forgo the moral high road, so don’t be concerned. None of those are reasons why I dislike the sport.

By comparison, basketball is nonstop action for 2 hours; in a good basketball game, points are scored consistently and the excitement never stops. While baseball and football do have breaks, they also have incredible unpredictability with every snap or pitch thrown – you are on the edge of your seat, never knowing what’s going to happen. Hockey brings none of these aspects to the table. An average hockey game will have 55 minutes of boredom with 5 minutes of action sprinkled in, like a couple of chocolate chips on my pancakes. It’s just not enough. Stop wasting America’s time.

Now listen, for those of you who played throughout their youth... I get it. You have an emotional connection with the sport, understand the intricacies and whatnot, you grow out your lettuce and call people “benders”, and that’s all well and good. But the people who really drive me nuts are ones who decide to hop on the NHL bandwagon and decide that hockey, especially – GOOD GOD ESPECIALLY PLAYOFF HOCKEY – is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and the rest of us had better shape up and get on board with them. Every bandwagon hockey fan reminds me of Ricky Bobby in his ad for Big Red.. instead they say, "If you don't like playoff hockey then f**k you." Seriously bro? How many regular season games did you watch? My guess is not a lot.  It’s a phenomena that occurs annually at this time, and it never ceases to amaze me. So go ahead Boston fans, call me what you will, say I’m an idiot, say I’m missing out on Stanley Cups, etc… but guess what: my teams are the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and UConn athletics (see: bball) each of which have won as much or more than the Bruins in the past 10 years– so really, the joke is on you.

Legendary high school football coach Bill Redell once said, “Hockey’s like watching two guys fish.” Yeah. That’s the whole quote. It’s a real quote too – look it up. Not really sure what he meant by it, but I’m completely on board with his message. I suggest you all consider it tonight. 


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  2. This is a joke, please read my rebuttal below. The Binge Master would not allow me to post a full rebuttal blog so here it is:

    For those of you who just suffered through Moynihan’s post about how Ice Hockey supposedly sucks I am sorry. As he stated in his own post, spare me. I wish I could unread what I just read because that was undoubtedly the worst argument I have ever read. Here’s why:

    1.Hockey is like soccer?
    Hockey is on ice. Soccer is on a grass field. Let’s just start there. One is extremely slow paced (soccer) while the other is high intensity extremely fast paced (hockey). Hence the reason in hockey an average shift only lasts about a minute and in soccer it typically lasts an entire game. Also in hockey you don’t see grown men flopping around like fish out of water, but rather skating full speed ready to check someone into an immovable object. Oh, sometimes the score is the same?! Damn, then it must be the same sport right? I mean that is essentially Moynihan’s only argument. That and they go up and down their respective field surfaces and only score 3-4 times a game at best. Unlike baseball which teams go up and down each 9 times and a game could end in a 1-0 score. This argument is coming from an ignorant, spoiled sports fan that doesn’t even come close to understanding the game. Great argument overall though, very sound.

  3. 2. Fighting in Hockey is Bad!!!!!
    Oh no, they fight because it is too boring otherwise they need to spice it up. Is that so? Or is hockey just smarter than other sports by setting up a self-policing league. Perhaps if other sports like Football had this arrangement there wouldn’t be possible life-threatening hits imposed on defenseless receivers. Perhaps Brandon Meriweather would have to own up for the cheap shots he dolls out rather than hiding behind his facemask and merely paying a fine. Since hockey is played on ice (which if you didn’t know moyn is a much harder surface than grass, I mean it’s pretty much as hard as ice), a cheap shot could potentially ruin a players entire career…reference Marc Savard. Football players get carted off the field so they are tougher…GRRRRR. They wear pads and helmets with facemasks just like hockey players there Moyn, but facemasks don’t come on hockey helmets. Instead you can often see a hockey player wearing a slap shot right to the face and coming back out for their next shift. But hockey players always have to go about mentioning how tough they are and are the toughest players in the world. Actually, hockey players are some of the most humble, down to earth players in the world and I can’t ever remember hearing any player mentioning how much tougher they are than other athletes. Perhaps it’s the media and other fans talking about it, which makes it resonate in your head Moyni. Or maybe some big old club hockey player from UCONN stole your best bitch. Either way, you didn’t hear it from the players so stop making shit up, “bro”.

  4. 3. Hockey, ESPECIALLY PLAYOFF HOCKEY, is the Best Playoff Sport of Them All
    My last and final rebuttal comes from the aforementioned topic. Unlike basketball, the first 2 periods actually mean something in the game. Moyn states that basketball is non-stop excitement for the entire game, but in reality the last 5 minutes are typically all that really matter. You can be down 15 points and make a last minute comeback fairly easily in that sport. The NBA is a joke, but that is another story. If he wants to argue that March Madness is comparable in excitement to Playoff Hockey, I’ll allow that because it definitely is exciting. But NBA basketball doesn’t hold a light to the excitement of the NHL, and if you knew anything about the sport itself you would agree. Unlike any other sport, hockey is anyone’s game. It doesn’t matter if you’re the 1 seed in the playoffs or the 8 seed, anyone can win. It’s all about who gets hot in net and which team gets their guys skating the best come playoff time. It is the most team-oriented sport of all team sports. There are 4 different lines of players that rotate in and out of the game, and unlike any other sport, your best player is not in the game for the majority of the time. It leaves room for excitement and an unusual hero, and that’s what makes this sport great. Unlike Football, the best team doesn’t get a bye-week to rest up and get healthy. Nope, the best team has to get ready just like everyone else to start the longest and most grueling stretch of any playoff series in American sports. All rounds are 7 games, and every game is a battle in itself. These guys are going balls to the wall for 60 minutes doing whatever they can do to win. In the playoffs you hardly ever see fights, which hurts Moyns argument even more, because the teams know they cannot afford to lose a guy for 5 minutes. It’s high paced, intense, fun, nerve racking, and every year when Bruins playoffs come around I lose a few years off my life. It is the most magical and powerful time in American playoff sports, and if you are a true sports fan you should not let your ignorance and stubbornness prevent you from opening up to this beautiful game. You actually make yourself less of a sports fan by doing so, because again you are missing out on the most exciting playoff sport in America. Ciao