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Friday, 28 September 2012

NHL Lockout: Are Hockey Players One Dimensional?

After Usain Bolt wowed the world for another time at the 2012 London Olympic Games, he was invited to tryout for Manchester United, the famed English soccer club.

What a spectacle it would have been had Bolt actually made the team and became a soccer star, during his "offseason".

Realistically Bolt would not have given up sprinting, after all, that is where he belongs. After kicking the ball around the pitch he undoubtedly would have returned to the track to win more gold medals.

So, I wonder, why have other teams from other sports not looked into the superstars of the NHL in the same way?

After all, they are in the middle of a lockout that prohibits many of them from playing. Are hockey players that one dimensional of athletes? Being one myself, I think not.

Hockey players are some of the most talented all-round athletes of any sport. The big question is, could any of them compete at the same level as the professionals do in another sport?

One position in sport that could potentially be filled by a NHL player could be the catcher position in baseball.

(Gregory Smith/Associated Press)
Let's not get to crazy and over our heads, but if a goaltender, say, had some experience playing baseball it seems like a natural fit. Of course, as Bolt was not able to make Manchester United you could not expect an NHL goalie to play in the MLB.

Is it not out of the question however, for them to play ball in the minor leagues while the lockout is ongoing. It would keep them busy, keep them in shape and they would still have something flying at them at close to 100 mph.

Although not a goalie, Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla played baseball on the Canadian Junior National Team as a catcher. Are there any teams destined for the MLB postseason with holes on their roster?

What about a sport like lacrosse. Many young hockey players end up playing lacrosse in the summer months because of the close similarities between the two games.

If the lockout continues what a great way for players to continue to stay in shape. Their cardio would be worked, their hand eye would stay in tact and all the battles they would have to go through would keep them tough.

John Tavares is the first player to jump to mind that could make that transition. Even though he just signed a contract to play in Switzerland it would have been neat for him to show off his other skill. Tavares played the game when he was younger and his uncle played in the National Lacrosse league, becoming their all-time leading scorer.

The game runs in the family, it seems.

For most NHL players it would seem a given that they have played other sports growing up. Even though they ended up choosing hockey, another sport could easily have given them just as much opportunity.

Many European players probably played soccer growing up. Pavel Datsyuk was noticed more for his anticipation and vision on the pitch than on the ice.

If a lockout can not be settled it would be interesting to see NHL players with talent in other sports to be able to show that off. Not in a publicity stunt sort of way, but rather because they have true athletic talent.

Lots of players from sports outside, and inside, hockey have combined their careers to include different professional sports.

In the end however, these guys are all hockey players and that is where they belong. Let's all hope we will be seeing the players on the ice rather than a field sometime in the very near future. Even though they could very well handle themselves anywhere.

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