Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Comparing the NHL stretch run and MLB Spring Training

Alex Rodriguez isn't the only Alex who's been distracted from his sport recently.

It's about this time of year that professional baseball players and major league-hopefuls are reporting to Arizona or Florida for MLB's annual Spring Training.  It's also this time of year that the NHL is preparing for the final stretch before the playoffs.  I figured there have to be some similarities and differences, and it turns out that I was right...well, sort of.

Similarity: The games are completely meaningless for teams from Washington D.C.
Difference: The Nationals could surprise everyone and compete for a playoff spot.

Similarity: Superstar players are meeting their new teams, either after free agency or trades.
Difference: Rick Nash expects to meet his very first full-time NHL team next week.

Similarity: Many teams are preparing for this season, while others are already looking towards next season.
Difference: For hockey fans in Phoenix, they are very, very afraid of next season.

Similarity: The New York teams are trying to build on the Giants' Superbowl victory by bringing the Big Apple more championships this year.
Difference: The Mets and Islanders sit off to the side awkwardly.

Similarity: Teams in both leagues are making trades to improve their team.
Difference: The Colorado Avalanche are getting manipulated miserably by Steve Yzerman.

Similarity: Architects and engineers are working to make sure everything about the team's buildings are prepared for home games.
Difference: Islanders management has failed to do that for decades now.

Similarity: Many teams, including the Yankees, are trying to find ways to cut salary.
Difference: The Rangers are deciding who to bury in the minor leagues to create more cap space next.

Similarity: In baseball, fans from New York, Chicago, Boston and other major cities, travel down to Florida and Arizona to fill up buildings to watch them play.
Difference: Actually, it's the same in hockey.

Similarity: Players from both sports are looking ahead towards April and beyond.
Difference: Unfortunately for many hockey players, it's because they'll be on the golf course.

Similarity: Both sports recently awarded a player a car (World Series MVP and last player/MVP of the All-Star draft).
Difference: World Series MVP David Freese won a new Corvette, while the last player drafted at the All-Star game won a Honda.  At least the Honda gets good fuel mileage...

Similarity: Superstar players are always looking to go to Los Angeles.
Difference: Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is allergic to bringing in star players.

Similarity: Players from Ohio aren't good at getting saves.
Difference: In baseball, at least a blown save means that your team was previously leading.

Similarity: Teams focus on establishing dominance and having a good home record.
Difference: The Red Wings agree, and decide they should play better at home.