While waiting for football, how about a little hockey?

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For those of you who spend most of your available sports-following time following football, I have a suggestion: Transition to hockey during the football offseason.

Some would say that I’m merely trying to promote an NBC property, which is a fair and obvious criticism given that I work for NBC. But I don’t really promote any of the NBC properties other than football. I choose to promote hockey because it’s a vastly underrated sport that deserve a much bigger audience, especially in the playoffs.

My interest reached new heights two years ago when: (1) the Penquins were marching toward their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history; and (2) the PFT barn had four TV screens and plenty of available liquor and cigars to support the enjoyment of televised sports. So hockey it was, and hockey it has been, whenever there has been no football to enjoy.

Last year, it continued when the Penguins chased, and caught, Stanley Cup No. 5. This year, I thought I’d lose my hockey jones once the Pens were eliminated. Instead, I got even more interested.

Without having one team to obsess over, watching hockey can be simply about watching hockey. The combination of grace and speed with violence and hatred. The unnatural bending of the stick during a slap shot. The crazy path of a puck through traffic, where the chances of the thing being intentionally redirected are roughly the same as having it unintentionally crash into a sensitive area of the male anatomy. The sound of the frozen rubber projectile hitting the hard steel tube. And the endless near-miss goals, which make the game as much about dumb luck as it it about raw skill.

So hockey is a more-than-adequate replacement for football. And with the ongoing Stanley Cup Final hopefully in the early stages of a potential seven-game classic (the series is tied at one), I strongly encourage you to tune in to NBCSN on Saturday night for Game Three, as the Washington Capitals host the Vegas Golden Knights.

38 responses to “While waiting for football, how about a little hockey?

  1. Hockey is the most underrated sport in the US. Best sport to watch live. Unfortunately they suffer from the ongoing, stifling Canadian presence and a Commissioner with a serious lack of foresight and planning.

  2. I’ll watch as I always do, but as a Flyers fan, it just irks me that a team in their first year of existence could win the cup, when the last time the Flyers won I was using a rotary phone.

  3. more serious hitting in the nhl playoffs than the nfl playoffs…and women luv it! in the tb vs Washington 7th game, pacquette and Wilson went after one another, both got put in the penalty box and, once the penalty had been served, they left the penalty box, tore off their gloves, and had a doozy of a fight (see Wilson’s bloody knuckles)…refs let them go for two, three minutes, then stepped in. my wife said she’s never seen anything like that in a sport event…I told her it was old time playoff hockey (watch the movie slap shot)…it was classic…and much fewer ads, thank god!

  4. That sport where a team that got together a few weeks ago made the finals? So team chemistry doesn’t mean much. Hockey is fun to watch but the sport can rely on luck far too much to win. Games go into OT far too often and the winners get decided by a mad scramble in front of the net too much. The reason why 8 seeds upset 1 seeds so often is because this sport is decided more on random occurrences rather than the skill of its participants. The NBA is too far the other way where there is very little surprises.

  5. I love hockey. Being from upstate NY, you are pretty much born with a stick, skates, and a Genny in hand.

  6. Or, tune into Australia’s NRL and watch guys with no pads play with no breaks for ads.

    Not to mention, State of Origin, where teams are built yearly based on which state players originate from.

    It’s happening now, and it’s a lot of fun. And they also call it football.

  7. Hear! Hear! Love hockey season! In WNY it’s much more fun sitting indoors with a dog and pop instead of freezing certain parts to a metal seat.

  8. @jman967 says:

    Hockey is the most underrated sport in the US. Best sport to watch live. Unfortunately they suffer from the ongoing, stifling Canadian presence and a Commissioner with a serious lack of foresight and planning.


    Stifling Canadian presence?? Canada lives and breathes hockey. How is that a bad thing??

  9. Unpopular opinion:

    The Caps are the easier team to root for. They have a long-suffering fanbase, and one of the league’s premier players, who has yet to win the cup. A DC team hasn’t brought home a championship since the 1992 Redskins.

    Vegas fans have never endured as much as one season that ended before the Stanley Cup.

  10. There is nothing in ANY sport that compares in intensity and excitement to NHL playoff hockey. It’s a much different (and better) game than during the way too long regular season. Must-watch TV for any sports fan.

  11. The worst thing about the NHL is that they call their jersey’s “sweaters”. I guess they used to play outdoors in the winter and needed warmer clothes.

  12. Playoff hockey is the single most enjoyable thing to watch. I’m not a big hockey fan yet I’ll scream when close goals and actual goals happen. I don’t even yell when I’m watching my Packers play.

  13. Hockey is the most underrated sport in the US. Best sport to watch live. Unfortunately they suffer from the ongoing, stifling Canadian presence and a Commissioner with a serious lack of foresight and planning.

    I hope when referring to lack of foresight you mean rules that are holding the skilled players back, allowing goalies to wear equipment so big they block the whole bet. I’d say there is some foresight in putting teams in Arizona, Carolina, Vegas and Seattle.

    I have always hoped that having really good black players and players of other nationalities that the game would grow in the states, particularly in the south and west. I suspect that it has happened on some level but not nearly enough

  14. shadywarrior says:
    June 1, 2018 at 3:16 pm
    Hockey is incredible. I might argue it’s the best in-person spectator sport. Blows my mind when people don’t like hockey.


    My experience has been that the only people who don’t like it either (a) can’t follow it or (b) don’t understand it.

  15. As you could guess, I’m a two-sport guy (football and hockey) here in the south. Here’s a challenge for someone who hasn’t given hockey a chance: google the closest ice rink to you, grab a friend/date/your kids, and give skating a chance. The motor skills it takes to balance and move will blow your mind. Then you can picture what a hockey player has to master. I’ve only been about 6 times, but I’ve come a long way I think.

    Possibly unpopular opinion: in a few years the Knights will be the NHL’s version of the Cowboys/raiders. National following but based on the international party appeal of Las Vegas.

  16. I’ve taken 6 different people who weren’t hockey fans to their first hockey game (Ranger game at MSG) and years later, they still follow it. One dude was from Nigeria and he couldn’t get enough of it.

    Nothing beats the NHL playoffs.

  17. Yes, hockey IS the best sport to watch live. Also, IMO the most fun to play at any level.

    Unfortunately the sport loses a lot of what is has to offer (intensity, row speed, so much more) when it is on TV.

  18. My experience has been that the only people who don’t like it either (a) can’t follow it or (b) don’t understand it.


    I followed hockey for many years but I lost interest. The strikes in the 90s didn’t help but I have other reasons. 1) An expansion team is in the finals. This shows that team chemistry means little and the sport of very random. 2) Near 20% of the games go into OT and need to change the rules to get a conclusion. Something fundamentally wrong with your sport if you need to change the rules that often to get a winner and again will show that even a poor team can play with the best and with a little luck will win out over skill.

    I know people like the randomness the sport provides but to me its too much. The better team doesn’t even win in 7 game series as often as they should because the games are decided by scrambles or lucky bounces.

  19. I’ve been a hockey fan since the 70’s. Nothing beats NHL playoffs. Teams go at each other for 4-7 games. They fight draw blood, curse and yell.. But in the end, they line up like men and shake hands.. Rock the Red !!

  20. Rather watch hockey than dying baseball. Although I do watch baseball when I have trouble falling asleep works every time.

  21. As a Sacramento resident, nothing would please me more than to see Vegas lose in game 7. It would be priceless to see minority owners Joe and Gavin Maloof crying in the owners’ box. GO CAPS!!

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