Monday, January 7, 2008

Quote of Day

Usually, the quotes they send from the NHL Today come from hockey players or coaches. But this one actually was made by NBA star LeBron James on 2006-07 Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby's impact:


HE SAID IT

“I know he’s great at what he does. They call him ‘Sid the Kid,’ he’s been
great for the Pittsburgh Penguins and what he’s able to do, as young as he is,
is pretty good. I know they compare him to me and I’m excited to be compared to a guy who plays the game the way he does.


How cool is that? When most would figure a basketball star wouldn't even notice hockey, it turns out not to be true in LeBron's case.

And while it's fairly accurate that most puck fans can't stand basketball, not all athletes who play one of the two winter sports feel the same way about the other.

Just look at Jaromir Jagr as example No.1. The Ranger hockey superstar has gone to Knick games (hopefully not this season though as they suck) and even used basketball terminology and applied it to the game he plays.

If you've also watched how No.68 uses his ass to protect the puck and back in opposing defenders, it looks eerily similar to a low post player making a move trying to score a basket. But in Jagr's case, a goal in the net.

Team defense is actually similar in that you have to move with your man in the defensive end or they'll get free to score an easy basket. In hockey, it's a little more difficult because you still have to beat the goalie even with a quality chance.

But you have a much better opportunity to score if you get away from the defender and are one-on-one with the netminder.

Who would've believed that two totally different sports could be so similar? The more structured you are defensively with your system, the better chance you have of being successful in hockey terms. And the more fundamentally sound you are in your end, the better off you'll be if you want to go far in the NBA playoffs.

This explains why the Spurs have won three NBA titles in the past five years and four dating back to 1999 proving just how valuable Tim Duncan really is. Sure, it helps to have played alongside David Robinson and now the fundamentally sound core of Finals MVP Tony Parker and the versatile Sixth Man Manu Ginobili.

That's why high flying teams such as the Suns never win when it really counts. In the NHL, you have the Thrashers and Lightning who play wide open run and gun styles similar to the one Steve Nash runs in Phoenix. However, unlike Nash who has stars around him that can at least guarantee them some postseason success, Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa don't have enough pieces around their respective teams to even guarantee making this year's playoffs.

Whether it's the lack of consistent goaltending or D as is the case with both Tampa Bay and Atlanta, they're probably on the fringe as far as making the cut in the ultracompetitive East.

Maybe you never viewed these two different sports in this context. But it just goes to show you that LeBron appreciates how special a player Crosby is and can learn from him.


Now that rocks!

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