Said draft animal bein' why hockey is superior to ALL other brands o' professional sports. A couple o' few excerpts from an article at FoxSports.com:
In a year the NBA’s image was supposed to be napalmed by a prolonged lockout, the league instead salvaged a decent chunk of this season and then stumbled ass-backwards into Linsanity. Knicks guard Jeremy Lin is more than a good underdog basketball story. He has become a cultural phenomenon.
Hockey desperately needs that kind of buzz infusion, and will not get it.
I am going to make a glaring geographical stereotype now as I try to explain why. Hockey is too bleeping Canadian. And Canadians are too bleeping nice.
No, really, they are nice to the point of almost being boring.
There is a reason you do not see "Real Housewives of Montreal" and why hockey players for the most part remain virtually anonymous. Do not bother emailing me about how I am generalizing and how you are offended. I recognize not all of y’all are nice. I am sure there are some real jerkholes up there. Although, off the top of my head, all I can come up with is Nickelback (and their biggest crime is against music) and Sean Avery (of course).
The NHL, to its great detriment, plucks extensively from this frozen tundra of nice — which helps in finding Lady Byng candidates and kills them when trying to sell hockey down here. This is partially why there is no Igin-love.
The rest o' the article focuses on Jerome Iginla, Calgary's captain, star player, and the source of many, many trade rumors. But we're on about the introduction, which is all about "nice."
OK, there IS a point to be made in that introduction, which basically comes down to hockey players being bona-fide role models our kids can look up to and emulate. We shall skip further sermonizing about drugs, thugs, and ugly mugs in the other pro sports. If you've been reading EIP for a while you KNOW this is a recurring (if not frequent) topic o' conversation in these parts.
I do take issue with Ms. Floyd Engel, though. Hockey might be nice and hockey players might be nice enough when viewed at a macro level. OTOH, there's this:
That would be Number 24, the deceased Bob Probert (and a one-time hero o' mine), in a fight with Troy Crowder in 1991, during the Golden Age o' The Enforcer. Bob was a nice guy off the ice but he was a holy terror when you either crossed him or took a run at Stevie. And then he wasn't so very nice.
Fighting is a hot topic in and around the NHL right now, mainly because it ain't NICE (and because of the spate o' untimely deaths among enforcers last summer). But fighting is an integral part of the game and I would miss it if it went away. I suppose that makes me not nice... but it is what it is.