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Author Topic: What Hockey needs to be more popular amongst the casual fan?  (Read 2743 times)
Brinker
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« on: Mar 20, 2009 at 12:51 »

b]106 points, which would rate the second-best single-season scoring total of his four-year career. If he hits the century mark, he and Malkin would be the first Penguins teammates since former center Mario Lemieux (161) and Jagr (149) in 1995-96 Mario Lemieux (161) and Jagr (149) in 1995-96
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2009 at 13:58 by Brinker » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 14:08 »

Maybe I'm missing your point there Brinker, if so, I apologize.  But I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you say that the league is "dying"?  Over the last two seasons, NHL ratings have jumped and at one point were higher than the NBA's during the playoffs for both sports. 

While the game still has a long way to go when it comes to selling in the USA, I think it's better than it was 10-20 years ago. 

For starters, they actually call penalties now.  You can no longer tackle players and hook the shit out of them like they use to do to Mario Lemieux.  Taking out the two-line pass helped open up the game. 

You have exciting young players in the league named Crosby, Toews, Kane, Staal, Semin, Backstrom, Malkin, Ovechkin and Stamkos.  You have talent coming up in the future named Tavares, Merrill, McFarland and Pulkinnen.

Most importantly in my opinion is that unlike that pathetic league we like to call MLB, there is actually a salary cap.  We don't have to worry about the Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks or Red Wings going out and buying up half the NHL during the offseason while we try to figure out a way to get under the cap by selling off all of our stars.

Can the game improve?  Sure  But, I don't see how it's "dying".  If anything, I see it becoming the total opposite.  I'll take it over MLB anyday of the week.
« Last Edit: Mar 20, 2009 at 14:34 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 14:40 »

I will agree with you and say it is making a comeback...but did it have anywhere else to go?

I watch whenever it is on Versus because of all of the exciting players in the league now.

Wanna see a spike in overall interest...get a contract with ESPN. 


I would like nothing more than to see the NHL take over as the #2 sport...to the NFL of course.

I just feel that way because no one really covers the NHL like they did in the past.

Brinker
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 16:41 »

Wasn't it on Fox at one point...with the "blue puck" tracker?
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 22:20 »

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Wish they could see the light...
I agree with PghSteel, I don't see your point. Maybe you can make an argument that the league isn't the same as it used to be and is indeed dying, but what you first initially posted has nothing to do with that argument. Unless you're saying that 106 points is pathetic compared to 162...

The NHL not being on ESPN doesn't help matters, but I think the sport is marketed poorly anyway. The NBA markets it's stars; it's Kobe vs. Lebron before it's The Lakers vs The Cavs. If the NHL was on ESPN, and marketed the amazing young talent in a proper way there is no reason to think it could not pass the NBA or MLB. Outside of Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin the vast majority of people don't know(or care) anyone else in the sport. In a time where pretty much every team has a star, there is no reason why this couldn't be done.

The potential is there for the NHL, the question that remains is will it be used appropriately in terms of marketing. In LA, San Jose, and Anaheim the NHL is very popular. And those are cities that lack a common experience. For example, NYC, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philly largely have a blue collar following. People that grew up in the same neighborhoods and who work similar jobs. A common blue collar experience. Leading people to believe that hockey is a blue collar sport. However, LA, Anaheim, and San Jose are cities that do not have that common experience. The cities are more fragmented in that regard. Lots of different kinds of people. There isn't that shared upbringing. My point is that if the NHL can be successful in California, than it can be successful just about anywhere.
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:01 »

I will agree with you and say it is making a comeback...but did it have anywhere else to go?

I watch whenever it is on Versus because of all of the exciting players in the league now.

Wanna see a spike in overall interest...get a contract with ESPN. 


I would like nothing more than to see the NHL take over as the #2 sport...to the NFL of course.

I just feel that way because no one really covers the NHL like they did in the past.

Brinker

I'm still lost on your original points though.

What does that have to do with how many points 87/71 currently have compared to what 66/68 had back in the mid-90's?  Just because 66/68 had more points than 71/87 doesn't make it any less enjoyable when attending or watching a game on tv in my opinion.  Watching Sidney Crosby or Evegeni Malkin skate through four guys and score a goal or dish out a pass that defies physics brings just as much excitement as Lemieux hooking up with Jagr.

I'm not seeing how the game is dying simply because two players who played for the Penguins in the past have more points point in one season compared to Sid and Geno.  While I blame the media for the most part, I think some fans (not neccessarily saying you in particular Brinker) need to realize that 87 is not 66 and 71 is not 68.  The comparison game needs to stop.  We have two of the best players in the league and all people can do is make comparisons instead of sitting back and simply enjoy watching this unbelievable talent night and night out.

« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:23 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:21 »

The move from ESPN to Versus was a killer. I've only watched a few games since the switch, mostly because I never see anything that might remind me. I never watch Versus.
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:32 »

The move from ESPN to Versus was a killer. I've only watched a few games since the switch, mostly because I never see anything that might remind me. I never watch Versus.

I agree with that completely and it has been my main complaint with the league when it comes to exposing and growing the game in the states.  Bettman's needs to go up to ESPN with hat in hand and get the sport back on ESPN.  Versus is not getting the job done.  It's not televised in many area's and even the places where it is televised, people have no idea what channel it is on because there is nothing else on that channel of interest.  I also think ESPN would have something to gain with the deal.  I'm sure it would bring in better ratings than "The National Dance Competition".

It also didn't help that the league decided to spread the game so fast to so many locations that make absolutely no sense.  Georgia?  Tennessee?  Florida?  North Carolina?  Arizona?  Those decisions watered down and dumbed down the league in my opinion.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:51 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 11:03 »

The move from ESPN to Versus was a killer. I've only watched a few games since the switch, mostly because I never see anything that might remind me. I never watch Versus.

You don't watch Professional Bull Riding Oat?!  WTF?!

Seriously, as far as scoring goes, PghSteel-43 is right. Sid is NOT Lemieux, Or Gretzky for that matter. Another factor to consider; of all the positions in hockey, the one that's changed the most over the years is goaltending. Not only have the goalie pads increased in size, the athleticism/skill and size of the goalies themselves have increased dramatically. Thru ought the 80's and into the 90's you had Patrick Roy and everyone else was a distant second. Then came Broduer. Now at least half the teams in the NHL have elite franchise netminders. And teams who don't are desperately seeking one. The game has changed in the last 20 years but I think the changes have been mostly for the good. I enjoy an unreal save or a great defensive play just as much as an unbelievable goal or a beautiful setup.

As far as television contracts go, I'm not going to pass judgment because from what I gather, ESPN tried to hold the league over a barrel. Basically, "we'll televise your games but we won't pay you anything". Now I now Versus is not mainstream and isn't paying anything near NFL or MLB television money, but something is better than nothing. I think they took the best deal they could at the time. The NFL and MLB thrive off of television revenue. The NHL has to get by mainly on gate revenues. Being a hockey fan, I know where Versus is on my television and check it most evenings to see if there's a game on. It's not that difficult to find if you really want to watch a hockey game. I'm also spoiled by living in a hockey market. If I don't go to a Pens game I can always watch it on FSN. Lastly, If you don't get the NHL channel, I highly recommend it. It is absolute heaven for the hockey fan.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 11:06 by Captain Chaos » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 12:29 »

Sorry Brinker, but I am also confused by this thread...I've been a huge hockey fan since 1990, and I don't know if I have ever been more excited by the players, and the competitiveness of the NHL.  With less than 10 games remaining in the season, about 5 points seperates 4th place and 9th place.  It's been a playoff atmosphere for the teams fighting for a playoff spot in the east for the past month. 

Regarding the scoring...You guys are right about the comparisons of Sid and Geno, to Mario, and Jags.  Sid in my opinion is a combination of the two of those guys, but isn't exactly like either.  I think if anything, Malkin's game reminds me more of Lemieux's game than anything.  The way Sid plays, I doubt he'll ever crack the 50 goal mark in a season, but that is just his game.  However, if you put Sid up against the goalies of the 80's, or early to mid 90's, and I think he nets 50 easily.  Geno, Ovechkin, Parise and guys like them would probably be putting up mind boggling amounts of goals.  (Ovechkin especially...)  Like previously stated, the goalies were smaller, not as atheletic, and their pads were extremely smaller than they are now.

I don't know what the solution to their marketing problems are, as ESPN does not seem willing to fork out a lot of money for the NHL television rights.  But I think a possible solution would be to try and go back to Fox.  But it is something that should be addressed if they do want to get out of the NBA, and MLB's shadows...  Neither of which should even be able to touch the NHL is my opinion... 
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 14:32 »

I don't know what the solution to their marketing problems are, as ESPN does not seem willing to fork out a lot of money for the NHL television rights.  But I think a possible solution would be to try and go back to Fox.  But it is something that should be addressed if they do want to get out of the NBA, and MLB's shadows...  Neither of which should even be able to touch the NHL is my opinion... 

At this point, I'll take FOX or ESPN even though I think ESPN is the smarter way to go if you want maximum exposure. 

I think the NHL took a gamble with Versus, much like how the NBA took a gamble with TNT (before TNT exploded).  Unfortunately with the NHL, Versus is not paying off like TNT is for the NBA.  The NHL needs that ESPN exposure if they want to hang with the NBA and MLB.  It's either find a new network or continue to lose that exposure/revenue.

While I'm thankful Versus carries games every Monday and Tuesday (even though the cast sucks) and I am able to pay for the NHL channel, the league needs to start grabbing fans who are not considered big hockey fans.  Putting the game on a channel that is hardly ever watched or even broadcasted in many area's or on a channel that you have to pay for is not the way to go if you want those type of fans or new fans in general.

Garry needs to sit down with the big wigs at ESPN and get something done.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 14:41 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 17:08 »

Ok I think I may have overstated my opinion.  I want hockey to thrive...I want to be able to see it n TV on a regulat basis...hell I paid $150.00 per ticket to go to the Pens vs. Canes game on April 4th...cannot wait to go to the game.  I just think that there was a time when the NHL had the attention of many more casual fans.  We need to somehow get them back...the outdoor game was simply brilliant, but we need to see maybe 5-8 of those per year.  Maybe try Monday Night Hockey!!! A six week experiment in which every game is played outdoors.  Have it in Primetime..starting at 8 PM EST.   Just an idea...but let me reiterate, I want hockey to be what it once was...for everyone...


Brinker
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 22, 2009 at 03:36 »

Ok I think I may have overstated my opinion.  I want hockey to thrive...I want to be able to see it n TV on a regulat basis...hell I paid $150.00 per ticket to go to the Pens vs. Canes game on April 4th...cannot wait to go to the game.  I just think that there was a time when the NHL had the attention of many more casual fans.  We need to somehow get them back...the outdoor game was simply brilliant, but we need to see maybe 5-8 of those per year.  Maybe try Monday Night Hockey!!! A six week experiment in which every game is played outdoors.  Have it in Primetime..starting at 8 PM EST.   Just an idea...but let me reiterate, I want hockey to be what it once was...for everyone...


Brinker

Right, but you're kind of missing the point here.  Hockey never went away for those of us who love it.
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 22, 2009 at 15:02 »

Wasn't the Pens/Flyers game a nat'l NBC game today?

Here in the STL area, we got Cards pre-season baseball on NBC.

Fuck baseball. What a snooze fest.
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 22, 2009 at 16:51 »

Right, but you're kind of missing the point here.  Hockey never went away for those of us who love it.


I just think that there was a time when the NHL had the attention of many more casual fans.  We need to somehow get them back

Never went away...well that depends on who you ask.  Not trying to play devils advocate here ...just being realistic.
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 03:09 »

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Never went away...well that depends on who you ask.  Not trying to play devils advocate here ...just being realistic.
Well I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that the NHL isn't as popular as it could or should be. I would just like to know what your initial post has to to do with that sentiment.

The NHL has it's problems, but as Penso said, those of us who love the sport are still watching. The game itself is still great, we'd just like it to be more accessible to the average fan. If you increase the popularity of the sport we all get to watch more games every year. No one wants their sport to be treated as a second rate sport. Especially when it really is an amazing sport to watch.
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 07:41 »

\
Quote
Never went away...well that depends on who you ask.  Not trying to play devils advocate here ...just being realistic.
Well I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that the NHL isn't as popular as it could or should be. I would just like to know what your initial post has to to do with that sentiment.

The NHL has it's problems, but as Penso said, those of us who love the sport are still watching. The game itself is still great, we'd just like it to be more accessible to the average fan. If you increase the popularity of the sport we all get to watch more games every year. No one wants their sport to be treated as a second rate sport. Especially when it really is an amazing sport to watch.

I agree completely...I do not want it to be looked at as second rate anymore, but the facts are the facts...it is not as popular as it once was or as popluar as I want it to be.  Maybe I should change the name of this post to "What Hockey needs to be more popular amongst the casual fan?"

The hockey die hards are getting a rope, looking for a tree and coming for me. Again I try to go to every game the Pens play in my region...i.e. Carolina and Atlanta...

Brinker
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2009 at 14:50 by Brinker » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 10:05 »

The hockey die hards are getting a rope, looking for a tree and coming for me.

I'm not at all and I'm in agreement with you to a degree.  Hockey does need to do something to spread the sport.  I'm just trying to figure out what 66/68 did back in the mid-90's compared to what 87/71 are doing this year have to do with the league "dying".  You make it sound like it's less of a game simply because they have fewer points.  If anything, those two have accomplished the complete opposite.  They are the main reason why people are packing Mellon arena every other night and are glued to the television.  One could argue that Crosby is the main reason why this city still has a hockey team.

Overall though, I think the game has changed for the better compared to the mid-90's.  I'm glad the game is not the same as it was back in the early 90's and so should all Penguin fans.  From the rule changes to the actual structure of the game (i.e. salary cap).  I loved watching 66/68 just as much as the next hockey fan and what they were capable of doing on the ice was special, but the two we have right now are no push-overs.  I can only speak for myself, but I really don't care what 66/68 accomplished compared to what 87/71 are accomplishing.  I'm just enjoying the ride and realizing how fortunate we are to have both of those two on the same team while others are playing the always pointless comparison game. 
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2009 at 10:15 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 13:25 »

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The hockey die hards are getting a rope, looking for a tree and coming for me.

Dude, carefully read my posts. I just want to know what your first initial post has to do with the sentiment that the league is dying. That is all. Like I said, maybe you can formulate a logical argument suggesting that the league is indeed dying, but you didn't do that. Everyone on here has missed your point completely. No one is attacking you, we would just like to know how this:

Quote
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 13:56 »

\
Quote
Never went away...well that depends on who you ask.  Not trying to play devils advocate here ...just being realistic.
Well I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that the NHL isn't as popular as it could or should be. I would just like to know what your initial post has to to do with that sentiment.

The NHL has it's problems, but as Penso said, those of us who love the sport are still watching. The game itself is still great, we'd just like it to be more accessible to the average fan. If you increase the popularity of the sport we all get to watch more games every year. No one wants their sport to be treated as a second rate sport. Especially when it really is an amazing sport to watch.

I agree completely...I do not want it to be looked at as second rate anymore, but the facts are the facts...it is not as popular as it once was or as popular as I want it to be.  Maybe I should change the name of this post to "What Hockey needs to be more popular amongst the casual fan?"

The hockey die hards are getting a rope, looking for a tree and coming for me. Again I try to go to every game the Pens play in my region...i.e. Carolina and Atlanta...

Brinker
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2009 at 14:51 by Brinker » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 14:00 »

\
Quote
Never went away...well that depends on who you ask.  Not trying to play devils advocate here ...just being realistic.
Well I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that the NHL isn't as popular as it could or should be. I would just like to know what your initial post has to to do with that sentiment.

The NHL has it's problems, but as Penso said, those of us who love the sport are still watching. The game itself is still great, we'd just like it to be more accessible to the average fan. If you increase the popularity of the sport we all get to watch more games every year. No one wants their sport to be treated as a second rate sport. Especially when it really is an amazing sport to watch.

I agree completely...I do not want it to be looked at as second rate anymore, but the facts are the facts...it is not as popular as it once was or as popluar as I want it to be.  Maybe I should change the name of this post to "What Hockey needs get be more popluar amoungst the casual fan?"

The hockey die hards are getting a rope, looking for a tree and coming for me. Again I try to go to every game the Pens play in my region...i.e. Carolina and Atlanta...

Brinker

It all makes sense now...thanks... violent1
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 23, 2009 at 15:07 »

Wow... did a six year old write that sentence?  That was bad...thankfully my job is based on numbers, not words...

Brinker
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 24, 2009 at 10:03 »

Speaking of Versus, big game on tonight for the Pens.....Wild vs Rags at 7:00.
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« Reply #23 on: Apr 09, 2009 at 07:57 »

Interesting read by Starkey this morning...

Starkey: NHL getting last laugh
Buzz up!By Joe Starkey, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 9, 2009

Remember all those dire predictions from the NHL lockout four years ago?

This is the last league that can afford a lengthy work stoppage, doomsayers said.

It will permanently alienate its fan base.

It will never attract new fans.

It will die a wretched death.

Well, lookie here: The NHL's on fire. Partly by luck, partly by design, the league everyone loves to bash (often with good reason) is producing a consistently entertaining product that is attracting increased numbers of paying customers and television viewers.

In the United States, television ratings are up from last season on NBC (10 percent) and Versus (23 percent). In Canada, the NHL confirmed earlier this week, ratings are up on CBC, TSN and French-language RDS. Local ratings for 21 of the 30 teams are up from or even with last season.

A full 17 of the league's 30 teams are playing to 95-percent capacity or better, compared to 14 last year, despite the terrible economy.

That doesn't mean the NHL is problem-free. Doesn't mean it's about to overtake the NFL or NASCAR in terms of popularity, either. It might not even overtake the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (which, by the way, is quite popular).

But it's far from dead.

Truly, the league hasn't been this compelling since the early 1990s.

Nearly every time I flick on a game, I am entertained. That was so not the case as recently as 2003-04, the last season before the league went dark for a year.

The lockout forced the NHL to take a long, hard look at itself. It emerged radically different and much improved.

Sweeping changes and the near-elimination of hooking and holding have conspired to create a game that looks an awful lot like ... hockey.

Traditionalists will tell you the shootout stinks and nobody hits anymore.

They are wrong.

Granted, some of the mauling has been taken out the game - particularly in front of the net - but if anything, collisions are more violent nowadays, because players are moving largely unimpeded at a higher rate of speed.

If you love hockey, you had to love the Penguins-Hurricanes game Saturday night. Action was fast and ferocious for the better part of 60-plus minutes, much like a lot of the games I've watched this season.

Low-talent hacks, who've mostly been weeded out, cannot get away with clutching and grabbing their way to paychecks anymore. We are beginning to see the fruit of teams drafting a new breed of player - new breed being players who can skate, pass and shoot.

Size doesn't matter so much anymore, except in goal.

Meanwhile, new coaches are implementing systems in which fast and skilled players can thrive. The neutral-zone trap has become less prevalent, sticking out like a purple puck in places such as Minnesota, a hockey hotbed where the populace has to be deathly sick of watching their team trap more than Grizzly Adams.

All of that was the design behind the new NHL. Here's the lucky part: The league has been blessed with an influx of electric young talent over the past four years.

Check the top 10 scoring leaders from the past two years before the lockout. You'll see familiar but fading names such as Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Glen Murray, Mario Lemieux, Ziggy Palffy and Joe Sakic.

Now look. Seven of the top 10 scorers are 25 or younger. Atop the heap sit Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, who form the NHL's answer to the NBA's "Big Three" of other-worldly talents -- LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.

In Chicago (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane) and Columbus (Rick Nash, Steve Mason), great young players are gearing up for their playoff debuts. Stars emerging elsewhere include New Jersey's Zach Parise, Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf and Washington's Mike Green.

Open your eyes, doomsayers.

The NHL is alive and well.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_619868.html
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« Reply #24 on: Apr 09, 2009 at 09:46 »

OKK FIEN YOOU MAID UR POUINT.  HOCKEEY IS TEH BESTT SPOTR EVERR.

No seriously.  that was a great article and I am glad that the sport is thiving. 

Brinker
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"He'll just smile and be cordial out there. Then he'll kill you."
--Aaron Smith, Defensive Lineman, on Troy Polamulu
Brinker
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« Reply #25 on: Apr 09, 2009 at 09:49 »

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"He'll just smile and be cordial out there. Then he'll kill you."
--Aaron Smith, Defensive Lineman, on Troy Polamulu
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