Why Trash Talk Affects Hockey More Than Any Other SportShareThis
The New York Jets ran their mouths like there was no tomorrow in the lead up to this years NFL season, and the HBO show Hard Knocks did nothing but add fuel to the fire.
When they finally lost 10-9 in a penalty-filled, defense-first fuckupathon, possible criminal/outspoken disciple of god Ray Lewis (of the Baltimore Ravens) made it very clear that they beat the Jets because of all the trash talk leading up to the game. Or something like that.
Here’s some thoughts on trash talk:
Basically, it means the very least in baseball, then football, then basketball, and means the absolute most in hockey of all the four major sports.
In baseball, there’s next to zero physical confrontation. Sure, you can throw at a guy or make the odd rough slide, but unless you get that once-a-month (once a season?) chance to bodycheck the catcher, its just not a game where playing angry or with a vendetta helps.
And football’s next in line. It sounds weird, but hear me out:
This is the most intense of the four main sports. You only play 16 games a year, and if you’re insanely lucky, up to three or four more. So players play a MAX of 20 times in 365 days. So understandably, these guys are going buck-wild balls-to-the-wall every game. Especially when you consider most guys only play on one side of the ball, so they’re looking at 30-40 minutes of playing time, and half of that time runs off between plays…. maybe they play for 15 minutes (stats show it’s considerably less, by the way. I’m going high there), 20 times a year at most.
So when there’s a personal vendetta, are you telling me they have another gear that they’re choosing not to use in those normal games? That they have a “oh, well now I’m really gonna try” option? They live in that mode. They’re try to blow up everyone.
The only reason trash talk matters at all is if they’re looking to pick on a guy (the way Tom Brady isolated that smack-talking safety a year or so ago), but for the guys in the trenches? There is no other gear. They simply can’t try harder.
So for the perfect formula for smack-talking to matter, you need a schedule that’s long enough that guys don’t bring their A-game every night, with enough physical contact to track down someone and settle the score.
Basketball and hockey both have 82 game seasons that get twice as good in playoffs (showing guys are capable of stepping it up on occasion), because the games suddenly matter more. And there’s no one in the world that would claim basketball, with all it’s bumping, is more physical than hockey.
Which means, ding ding ding, your winner by technical decision, hockey is the sport that trash-talk affects the most (especially when you consider how often basketball employs set plays, and hockey allows for guys to go out of their system to take a run at a guy).
Which, in turn, might be why hockey players give the most boring interviews – they know there can be physical repercussions for their words.
Don’t get me wrong, football players have to answer the bell too, but they answer it regardless. My hit total in a hockey game on any given night can fluctuate between zero and what, 10, 15, and that’s my call. So if I’m angry…. heads up. And by “me” I mean “someone who’s tough enough to hit with force.”
What do youuu think, oh-wise contributor to Bourne’s Blog? Agree? Am I way off on this one?
Anywho, for more of my recent typings, here’s my latest piece for Puck Daddy, on New Gear Day, the time right after making a team where they give you all the good stuff.