Before anyone gets too offended about anything I write, keep in mind that I love both of the leagues that I mention in this blog. They are like children that I will always love unconditionally, but in different ways. The NHL is my hard working child who makes me proud every day, although some others might not see his brilliance. The NFL is my meathead football player kid that’s gonna end up becoming rich and famous because of his good size and freakish speed. He will be successful and people will always notice him. Hopefully, my NFL son, scores better than Vince Young’s alleged score of 6 on the Wonderlic test. I’m confident that my Hockey kid would at least score in the double digits.
Regardless of the sport, especially at the professional level, preseason games serve their purpose. Sure, the revenue generated by television deals, tickets, food & beverage, and everything else that comes with a preseason game is a big business for the teams involved. However, the main purpose of these games, from a personnel standpoint, is to condition returning players and to identify talent so open roster spots can be filled. Football teams, at the beginning of the NFL preseason, are gargantuan. Hockey squads have a similar bloated look during the preseason. But, by the time the regular season begins, it’s the same story in either league. Preseason comes and goes, rosters get trimmed, and grown men cry.
Sunday night, the National Football League kicked off their 2010-2011 campaign with their preseason opener, the Hall-of-Fame game. The Dallas Cowboys were victorious, as they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 16-7 (who cares). I consider myself to be a pretty big football fan, but give me a break. Preseason football just doesn’t do it for me. I’m sure there are plenty of NFL superfans that started their countdown to training camp as soon as the Super Bowl ended, but I’m not one of them. Those are the guys who actually tuned in Sunday night and analyzed each and every play…crazed football lunatics that also like Mel Kiper Jr.’s unique hairstyle and awkward personality. I know they’re a one-off breed, but we need fans like these to write the football blogs. However, it’s likely that they despise preseason hockey, which would make them ignorant and foolish, unlike me. If I felt like it, I could continue with this mini-roast of our NFL blogging counterparts because they are probably too busy playing Madden 11, released Tuesday, to have the time to hunt me down and hurt me. So, if anyone reading this had an employee call out today, ask yourself, “Do they play Madden?” If the answer is yes, please go easy on them. The yearly Madden release has been known to cause grown men to act a little foolishly. Now back to hockey…
Preseason hockey presents itself differently to me, even though it’s essentially the same thing that you’d find in the NFL. Veterans and returning team members get their work in to prepare for the regular season. Younger, unproven players try to show what they’ve got and crack one of the few vacant roster spots. Those who make it, make it, at least temporarily. Those who don’t are destined for something else. Despite the unfamiliar look of some of our preseason game-time rosters, it still feels like the games played leading up to opening day are actual hockey games as opposed to the boring Sunday scrimmages of the NFL preseason. Maybe the game of hockey is just a game that masks the dullness of preseason better. Maybe young hockey players trying to make it to the top are tougher and play harder than the youngsters in the NFL. Perhaps the NHL is a far superior league than the NFL, but only we true hockey fans have the mental capacity to understand this. Whatever the reason, I’m counting the days until I can feel the rush of watching hockey in the Music City again. Bring on the NHL preseason. I’m ready for it.
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