King Shames...

by Ted Hoag

I was sitting and watching ESPN this morning which opened the flood gates to the Lebron James aftermath and then I began to think (and laugh). Cleveland, as we know it, has been reduced to absolute rubble. Miami, known for its paradise-like beaches and armadas of yachts, will flourish even further with the arrival of James.

I am not an NBA fan or even a basketball fan, however, like many others across the nation, I found myself caught up in the hoopla known as “The Decision.” James had an entire country eating out of his hand for weeks and reaped every single benefit possible. You are probably asking, what does any of this have to do with hockey? I’m getting there, trust me.

As innocuous this whole issue may seem to a diehard hockey fan, I began to percolate my thoughts and build a stark comparison. Maybe it is not as extreme, but does the three-headed monster of James-Wade-Bosh in Miami have the tendency (definitely the audacity) to fall into the shoes (or skates) of the Washington Capitals? Think, just for a moment…

Alex Ovechkin (James). Nicklas Backstrom (D. Wade). Alexander Semin (Bosh). Is it not evident? Could the Miami Heat squabble in their talent much like the Capitals have? Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin, two of which had 100-point seasons this year, win games during the regular season at a torrid pace. But as we all know, the Capitals falter and disappoint in the playoffs year after year. What if the Miami Heat tore through their regular season schedule only to trip on their shoelaces come postseason? Two totally different sports, although, similar qualities and reputations when it comes to individuals.

And of course, coaching and role playing will affect the Heat. Maybe it will be the difference between multiple NBA championships and utter disappoint for “King” James and his circus-of-a-public-life. The experts are saying that too many superstars on one squad can hamper reputations, playoff runs and irritate egos.
In a way, I think they are correct, but when I think of teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins who have mature and responsible individual superstars like Crosby, Malkin and Staal who have the ability to play on the same page every single time they step onto the ice.

If I were a general manager, I wouldn’t be spending all my effort in finding that top shelf talent, I’d be looking for solid, well-rounded individuals who know how to play with others and manage the game like a human being. After all, there is a night and day contrast between basketball and hockey. Who knows, maybe Ovechkin and his toothless grimace will be jumping ship after next season if the Crapitals suffer yet another playoff slip up?

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