Before I get started, let me offer this warning. The articles I will be referencing – and therefore linking to unless otherwise mentioned – are from the Chicago Sun-Times Rick Morrissey. If you click on any of the links, be warned your brain may melt.
Ok, now to the point at hand. Monday’s offering from Rick Morrissey is most-assuredly in response to his inbox to being flooded from all sorts because of his take on the Blackhawks limo pictures from last week. If you didn’t see it already, Matthew Dirt from Second City Hockey already picked that one apart.
So after being told by the typical hockey yahoos “YOU DON’T KNOW HOCKEY!! STOP TALKING HOCKEY!!!”, Morrissey decided to fight ignorance with more ignorance. Behold:
For a player, the difficulty of hockey is not in its strategy but in being talented enough to keep the puck away from the other team.
I’m not really sure what this means. Is he saying there’s no point in having coaches? Is he saying that players only plan of attack is to make sure the other team doesn’t have the puck? Are players simply instructed not to worry about anything but playing keepaway? If so, why do teams sit through film sessions? So Ben Eager and Cam Barker can have a little alone time in the dark? So many questions, so few answers.
It goes a bit deeper, though. Imagine if I just discovered the game of baseball, would I be in the wrong for thinking this: “For a player, the difficulty of baseball is not in its strategy but in being talented enough to hit the ball.”
Not understanding a sport is quite alright but painting it with a broad stroke simply because you don’t want to know the intracacies is a different story.
Here’s the thing about hockey: There aren’t a lot of intricacies. Players skate like madmen for 40-second shifts. The passing at the NHL level is crisp, a thing to behold, but it doesn’t take a genius to know where the puck is supposed to go. And a fan needn’t have a vintage Dennis Hull sweater to know it, either.
Now watch very closely for what I’m about to do here. I’ll bold it for the slower in the audience.
Here’s the thing about football: There aren’t a lot of intricacies. Players run around like madmen for 5-second intervals. The passing at the NFL level is crisp, a thing to behold, but it doesn’t take a genius to know where the ball is supposed to go. And a fan needn’t have a vintage Vince Evans jersey to know it, either.
See, if you’re a novice to ANY sport, everything seems simple. It’s only when you peel off the layers when the intracacies are revealed. Don’t tell that to Morrissey though. He’s too busy trying to offend other niche sports.
Soccer might have more strategy than hockey. If only it had checking.
I love how he says “might” as in, “I’ve watched soccer for about 15 minutes once, it seemed to have some strategy going, but I’m not sure. There seemed to be some plan of attack rather than just 10 guys skating around with this piece of rubber. Oh yeah, and soccer is stupid. Haha.”
The underlying factor (and most likely the biggest reason we were subjected to Morrissey enlightening us with how simple hockey is) in all of this is how much I despise hockey fans who respond to people with misguided opinions about the sport by saying, “STOP TALKING HOCKEY!! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT!!” Whatever happened to the good old reply of “You’re an idiot.” What do you think Bears, Cubs, or White Sox fans say to Morrissey when he tries to dissect their teams?
No one tells Don Cherry to stop talking hockey and he has plenty of brain-dead ideas. Just watch CBC for about three minutes. Chris Berman is a blowhole. He isn’t instructed to stop talking football. John Kruk has a string attached to his back; just give it a yank and you’ll get all sorts of cliches. His inbox isn’t flooded on a nightly basis with strict orders to stop talking baseball. No, viewers just call them idiots and move on with their lives.
Of course, the main point of Morrissey’s column was instructing old fans how to treat new fans and somewhere in between explaining how there’s little strategy in hockey and how the game hasn’t really changed in 25 years (as if they used to use tennis rackets to hit baseballs 20 years ago), he sort of lost his way.
If you want a better idea of how to treat all the new fans discovering that hockey is actually played at the United Center, check out what these two guys said last year. They might know what they’re talking about.