Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sports Thursday: 1/10/13

NHL - So, there will be a hockey season after all. Hooray!

Really...I think we fans took this a little too far, myself included. How dare they wait three months to start the season! Well, in the grand scheme of things, this really wasn't that big a loss. From a competitive standpoint, I think a shorter season actually benefits a team like the Carolina Hurricanes. Smaller sample space = higher playoff odds for the underdogs, right?

So all is forgiven, right? Well...the thing with sports is that we enjoy it more when we don't think about the ridiculous sums of money that are involved. And that's all this lockout was about: money. Players and owners fighting over money. Nothing more. I'd love it if the NHL were more popular in this country than the NBA, but these things don't help, and as a hockey fan, that's infuriating, too.

On the other hand, hockey is entertaining, and in cities with an NHL team such as Raleigh, it's a source of hometown pride. So will I watch the Carolina Hurricanes' games? Of course! Will I watch the rest of the league? Probably, but maybe not as much as before. Will I spend any money on hockey tickets or Carolina Hurricanes merchandise this season? Probably not. It'll take some time for the passion to come back.

Maybe next time I write one of these, we can actually talk about the games! I'm looking forward to that.

Oh, and one more thought: the one thing Gary Bettman could do that would help win fans back more than anything else? Resign.

NFL - Among Washington's pro sports franchises, it appears we have two diametrically opposite approaches to player injury:
- The Nationals approach: Sit your star player down for the last month of the season, and the playoffs, as a precaution to prevent further injury, even though he is healthy at the time.
- The Redskins approach: Keep your star player in the game even when he's already obviously hurt, and risk further injury along the way.

Obviously, some middle ground would be best. But as fan, if you had to choose between the Nationals approach and the Redskins approach, which would you choose?

It's easy to say "the Nationals approach" given the way the Redskins/Seahawks game went down last weekend, but...think about it a little more. Let's say your favorite team is in the Super Bowl. Your team's star player is injured, but still capable of contributing, even at the risk of additional long term injury. Keep him in the game? I say, yes! I mean, it's the Super Bowl! Your team may never get back here again. I hope my team would be willing to risk "future assets" if a clear opportunity to win the Super Bowl presents itself.

That said, I think that's only justifiable in extreme circumstances; i.e. in the last round or two of the playoffs. Not in a Wild Card game, and certainly not in a regular season game, even if you have to win said regular season game to make the playoffs. Because yes, Stephen Strasburg pitching in the NLDS might have made the difference between winning and losing, but they might have lost to the Giants in the next around anyway.

As for this weekend's playoff games: Go Texans!

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