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From Blake Beasley’s Perspective: Three Reasons Why You Should watch Hockey

Denver, CO- There is one thought at the end of the NBA Draft that most undrafted players and I have in common. The thought is based around a phrase that is only two words, but those two words can define a million emotions.

“What’s Next?”

For the undrafted players, they are questioning where their careers will go. Sports fans who only watch football and basketball, such as myself, begin questioning what will be their new source of entertainment until college football returns.

For over 20 years, I have been unable to fill that void, and this year I have found the solution. Here are three reasons why you should watch Hockey.

Rule Changes in the NBA

In 1979 the NBA banned hand checking, which forced a defender to be less physical with a ball handler. In 1991 the NBA also implemented a flagrant foul rule which punished players for excessive physicality. This made the NBA’s defensive style less physical and more based on speed than strength.

The lack of defensive aggression in the NBA has caused older players and fans to question the toughness of the league today.

Rule Changes in the NFL

In 1995 the NFL implemented a rule when tackling a passer during or after the pass is thrown a defender is not allowed to violently throw the quarterback down or land on top of him.

Since that rule change, the NFL has added multiple new rules to ensure player safety. Another rule change is the addition of targeting. In 2008 the NFL added this rule to prevent players from hitting using the crown of their helmets to make inadvertent or accidental contact.

Before that rule change, the NFL would promote that style of play.

Reason 1: Physicality

In the NFL and NBA, unnecessary aggression or physical contact has been removed from the game. In Hockey, it is not only tolerated but even promoted.

According to the NHL website, since 2016, there is a documented 66.81 hits per game on average in the playoffs. Before 2016 the average was 46.5, in other words, Hockey can still fill that physical void that NFL and NBA rule changes have eliminated.

Below is an example of the type of hit the NHL delivers.

Reason 2: Pace of the Game

In the recent Stanley Cup matches I have watched, one aspect I have enjoyed is the pacing of the game. Even though the scoreboard might not reflect it.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals. From the outsider’s perspective, a winning team scoring only three points does not seem extremely entertaining.

However, the scoreboard does not tell the story in terms of the speed of the game. The Avalanche only scored two goals on Wednesday night, but they attempted 37 shots in total.

Tampa Bay attempted 29 shots so while the score count is low, the excitement in shot attempts is still relevant.

Take this goal by Lightning defender Jan Rutta for example. Rutta moves down the rink to shoot a 94 mph heater to gain the score.

Reason 3: Lightning vs Avalanche is Exciting

The Lightning are the reigning Stanley Cup champions who can make NHL history. If Tampa Bay wins, they will be the second team this century to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals.
The Lightning is led by second team All NHL member Victor Hedman as they look to etch their name in history.

On the opposing side of the veterans is a young and exciting Colorado Avalanche squad. The Avalanche has been on an absolute tear this postseason having only lost twice headed into the Stanley Cup.

Their success is largely in part to the emergence of their star defender Cale Makar.

Makar won rookie of the year in the 2019-2020 season, then this season came away with multiple accolades. Makar earned first-team All NHL honors and was named the recipient of the James Norris Trophy this season which is essentially defensive player of the year.

Makar is 23 years old and looking to win his first Stanley Cup. The Lightning is looking to solidify themselves as a dynasty. The Avalanche lead the series three to two with Game six taking place in Tampa Bay on June 26th at 5:00 p.m. PST. I will be tuning, and after reading the reasons above, I hope that you do as well.

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