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MLB players miss the NHL


Accord

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MIAMI - With NHL arenas shut this past winter, something was missing this offseason for Mike Piazza, Admin Walker, Eric Gagne and Tom Glavine.

 

Growing up watching the Broad Street Bullies ? the two-time Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers of the mid ?70s ? Piazza was among many major leaguers who felt hockey withdrawal because of the NHL lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.

 

?One of the first games I went to was against the California Golden Seals,? said Piazza, who collects hockey jerseys and counts Montreal Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray among his close friends. ?I love hockey. This has been frustrating for everybody, fans and players alike. It?s a shame.?

 

He?s far from alone among ballplayers.

 

Mets teammate Tom Glavine, a Billerica, Mass., native who was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, has been a key figure in baseball?s labor negotiations. The pitcher experienced firsthand the damage baseball suffered from the 1994 strike and feels hockey is in a much more vulnerable position with its fan base.

 

?I missed being able to take my kids down there because they enjoyed going to the games,? said Glavine, who lives outside of Atlanta. ?So there was a definite void this winter, not being able to see it and go to it. It?s unfortunate and you just hope that they get something done here before it starts creeping into next season, and you have to through it again next year.?

 

As a childhood left wing who dabbled in goaltending while growing up in Michigan, it?s fitting that Boston catcher Jason Varitek had the captain?s ?C? added to the left chest of his Red Sox jersey when he re-signed with the World Series champions.

 

?I?m not a die-hard hockey fan, but I enjoy hockey,? Varitek said. ?I know a lot of people who have missed it. I know I?d be watching it in a couple of weeks when they?d have come to the playoffs. I don?t know how many times we were in Toronto and the Leafs were in the playoffs, and that was always pretty cool. It?s very different.?

 

Gagne and Walker, both born north of the border, need no introduction to Hockey Night in Canada.

 

Gagne lived out a childhood dream in his hometown of Montreal when he was given a standing ovation prior to a Canadiens game at the Bell Centre after winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2003.

 

Now that he makes his offseason home in Arizona, the one-time defenseman found plenty of other things to do to overcome his favorite sport?s lost winter

 

?I watched movies a lot,? the Los Angeles Dodgers closer said. ?There?s a lot to do in Phoenix. You don?t have to worry about freezing your butt off. It?s not as hard as going out in Montreal.?

 

?I was outside a lot, playing with the kids. It?s not really a void, but I just enjoy the games so much that I wanted to see some games,? he said.

 

Walker, a native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia., joked that he?d racked up a lot of frequent-flyer miles over the winter traveling to Sweden to get his pro hockey fix.

 

While the former goalie didn?t actually miss the game to that extent, he did check in with Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote a few times in December when negotiations were coming to a crunch.

 

Though he was sorry to see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman ultimately cancel the season, the St. Louis outfielder thought a radically shortened season would have been a farce.

 

?I?m glad they did instead of trying to save it for a couple of weeks,? Walker said. ?What?s the point, are you going to have a Stanley Cup playoff after two weeks? ... There?s always going to be that asterisk by that team if they win.

 

?Just get rid of it and start from scratch and get things settled. These things happen in everybody?s job, it?s not just sport. You just have to gut your way through it,? he said.

 

Umpire Ed Rapuano was a fan of the Eastern Hockey League?s New Haven Blades growing up in New England. Living in South Florida, his love for the game now has him following the fate of the Florida Panthers while he keeps an eye out for his friend, NHL linesman Stephane Prevost.

 

?We played golf early this winter and he had no idea what was going to happen,? Rapuano said. ?I just feel bad. If baseball wanted to shut down, I?d be in big trouble. I?d have to go find work to support my family, and I?m sure Stephane?s doing that.?

 

Piazza, who met his new bride, Alicia, through Souray and his wife, actress Anjelica Bridges, said he could envision taking on another job ? on the blue line.

 

?You know what, I truly believe that if I played about six months and got my wind that I could be a pretty good defenseman,? the Mets? star catcher said.

 

?I could move the bodies around a little bit in front of the net, though I?ve got to work on skating backwards a little bit. I?m like Sheldon, with a better shot,? he said.

 

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7339355/

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Guest Fritz

Hockey sucks. Golf, Tennis & NASCAR will soon (if they haven't allready) eclipse NHL in terms of popularity.

725093[/snapback]

 

I agree. NASCAR already has. I just want golf and tennis to get bigger and give opportunity to more kids. Making these sports more universal would be awesome. Also, I'd love for soccer to become larger.

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Hockey is a great sport -- the ignorant constantly bash it because they simply don't understand it. It's arguably the most physical, fast paced, game out there -- but people just have never been given any reason to truly understand the sport -- so the NHL is where it is.

 

Its a tough sport to market -- any kid can buy a basketball for 10$ and go play hoops, or buy a glove and ball for 40$ and play catch -- but hockey is so expensive its tough to introduce to kids at a young age. I remember playing when i was a kid -- and I spent over $2000 on equipment.

 

Anyway...hopefully Bettman and Goodenow are fired after the impasse is declared..... :plain

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the NHL has already been eclipsed by NASCAR. NHL on TV is a terrible product that nobody will watch, and it would be foolish of ESPN to pick it back up when it comes back

725301[/snapback]

Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls :plain.

 

Daytona 500 ratings were higher than game 7 of the ALCS Yanks vs. Sox last year, so if you want to make the case that NASCAR has eclipsed hockey, you need to include that it's eclipsed baseball as well.

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Hockey is a great sport -- the ignorant constantly bash it because they simply don't understand it. It's arguably the most physical, fast paced, game out there -- but people just have never been given any reason to truly understand the sport -- so the NHL is where it is.

 

Its a tough sport to market -- any kid can buy a basketball for 10$ and go play hoops, or buy a glove and ball for 40$ and play catch -- but hockey is so expensive its tough to introduce to kids at a young age. I remember playing when i was a kid -- and I spent over $2000 on equipment.

 

Anyway...hopefully Bettman and Goodenow are fired after the impasse is declared..... :plain

725252[/snapback]

Agreed.

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Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls plain.gif.

 

Are you kidding me? Are you on drugs? Do you have ANY proof?

 

ESPN2 is getting better ratings with re runs of poker, womens basketball, and bass fishing.

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Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls plain.gif.

 

Are you kidding me? Are you on drugs? Do you have ANY proof?

 

ESPN2 is getting better ratings with re runs of poker, womens basketball, and bass fishing.

725920[/snapback]

 

 

Are you illiterate? Re-read his post -- note the "early 90s". Hockey was reaching it's pinnacle until Bettman ran the league into the ground.

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the NHL has already been eclipsed by NASCAR. NHL on TV is a terrible product that nobody will watch, and it would be foolish of ESPN to pick it back up when it comes back

725301[/snapback]

Daytona 500 ratings were higher than game 7 of the ALCS Yanks vs. Sox last year, so if you want to make the case that NASCAR has eclipsed hockey, you need to include that it's eclipsed baseball as well.

725315[/snapback]

Agreed

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the NHL has already been eclipsed by NASCAR. NHL on TV is a terrible product that nobody will watch, and it would be foolish of ESPN to pick it back up when it comes back

725301[/snapback]

Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls :plain.

 

Daytona 500 ratings were higher than game 7 of the ALCS Yanks vs. Sox last year, so if you want to make the case that NASCAR has eclipsed hockey, you need to include that it's eclipsed baseball as well.

725315[/snapback]

1) I have a very hard time believing that about the ratings. I need some proof on that

 

2) That doesnt necessarily mean NASCAR has gone past baseball as well. Thats just one event in the NASCAR season, only that one and the Coca-Cola 600 get seriously high ratings. Also, baseball is much more of a national sport than NASCAR

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Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls plain.gif.

 

Are you kidding me? Are you on drugs? Do you have ANY proof?

 

ESPN2 is getting better ratings with re runs of poker, womens basketball, and bass fishing.

725920[/snapback]

 

Are you illiterate? Do you need glasses?

 

Go look up the Nielsen ratings from ~1992-1995.

 

Hell, just take a look at one of the covers of SI in 1994 that read "Why the NHL is hot and everything else is not" or something along those lines. In 1994, the only sporting event that got higher ratings than the NHL was the Super Bowl.

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Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls plain.gif.

 

Are you kidding me? Are you on drugs? Do you have ANY proof?

 

ESPN2 is getting better ratings with re runs of poker, womens basketball, and bass fishing.

725920[/snapback]

 

Are you illiterate? Do you need glasses?

 

Go look up the Nielsen ratings from ~1992-1995.

 

Hell, just take a look at one of the covers of SI in 1994 that read "Why the NHL is hot and everything else is not" or something along those lines. In 1994, the only sporting event that got higher ratings than the NHL was the Super Bowl.

726085[/snapback]

Show me proof. I dont believe you. How does a sport take such a turn around? From being the best and greatest to being NOTHING. Give me a link to YOUR claim. If you provide evidence I will never talk about hockey ever again on this board. The evidence better be real and from a trust worthy site.

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Yeah, it's a terrible product that nobody will watch, even though in the early to mid 90's NHL ratings were far higher than every other sport, including Michael Jordans' Bulls plain.gif.

 

Are you kidding me? Are you on drugs? Do you have ANY proof?

 

ESPN2 is getting better ratings with re runs of poker, womens basketball, and bass fishing.

725920[/snapback]

 

Are you illiterate? Do you need glasses?

 

Go look up the Nielsen ratings from ~1992-1995.

 

Hell, just take a look at one of the covers of SI in 1994 that read "Why the NHL is hot and everything else is not" or something along those lines. In 1994, the only sporting event that got higher ratings than the NHL was the Super Bowl.

726085[/snapback]

Show me proof. I dont believe you. How does a sport take such a turn around? From being the best and greatest to being NOTHING. Give me a link to YOUR claim. If you provide evidence I will never talk about hockey ever again on this board. Te evidence better real and from a trust worthy site.

726103[/snapback]

 

A ton of combinations lead to the decline of the NHL. The 1994 lockout had the same affect on hockey as it did with baseball -- except baseball was able to recover because of the excitment generated from McGwires legendary chase and what not -- while the NHL on-ice product just got worse post-lockout. Teams have dedicated themselves to defense-first, defense second, defense third strategies that simply make 90% of the games boring to the casual fan. The only people who don't find games boring are those with an emotional attatchment to the game.

 

They need to open up the game -- bigger ice surfaces, longer bluelines, less room behind the nets, should help somewhat. I DO NOT think they should make the goals bigger or drastically change goaltenders equipment -- that will just make the game WORSE. Teams will focus even MORE on their defensive game because their goalies just cant be trusted like they used to be. A great save is just as exciting as a shot on goal -- its SCORING CHANCES that they need to improve -- not just overall goals produced. My personal idea is to actually clamp down on obstruction -- call EVERYTHING and make every third obstruction call a penalty shot. make powerplays a full two minutes regardless of how many goals are scored. teams will NOT be willing to take penalties if powerplays are all of a sudden converting at 20-30% -- which will mean the 5 on 5 will be opened up drastically. the clutching, hooking, holding, slashing will dissapear, the game will open up and scoring chances will improve twofold.

 

Anyway...I don't have any stats -- maybe Accord does -- but I can assure you his facts arent far off. Hockey was incredibly popular in the early 90s -- remember Miami in 96? The Panthers were the talk of the town. Finding a ticket to a Panther game was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Honestly -- I think Hockey is the best sport out there -- but the NHL is poorly run making it an unattractive product -- Bettman needs to be shown the door when this lockout is over -- he has done nothing but hurt the sport.

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