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Babcock on lockout: “We could end up like bowling”

Dec 18, 2012, 7:35 PM EDT

babcockstinkeye AP

When asked about the lockout’s impact on the NHL, Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock reminded many of some of the sport’s darkest hours.

Specifically, he told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector that the sport might go the way of bowling.

“Hate to say it, but we could end up like bowling,” Babcock said.

That comparison might bring back some bad memories from the last lockout.

Following the work stoppage, much was made about how the NHL’s ratings approached programming such as professional bowling (and a trivia show called “Stump the Schwab”) when the league aired games on ESPN.

On the other hand, some might wonder why Babcock chose to beat up on bowling.

For one thing, bowling has done an amusing job pumping up its “characters,” with players like Pete Weber embracing a pro-wrestling style (via Getty):

source: Getty Images

(That’s a lot of ‘tude right there.)

Bowling is also the rare activity where people far beyond Kyle Wellwood/Dustin Byfuglien‘s fitness level can succeed – sometimes while drinking heavily.

It’s relatively cheap to play and you can make “The Big Lebowski” and “Kingpin” references for some good chuckles

So, yes, the NHL should aim to avoid comparisons to fringe sports – but maybe everyone should give old bowling a break.

  1. illashell - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:44 PM


    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Mark it zero!

    • jsaq - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      Smokey, You’re entering a world of pain.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:09 PM

        It’s a league game, Smokey.

      • shotzongoal - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        This is not Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.

  2. gibbstastic - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Ten frames?… That’s for Quakers.

  3. timsabourin - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    How has no one commented on the fact that NELLY AND LIL WAYNE ARE IN THE BACKGROUND

    • elvispocomo - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      That was my first thought as well.

  4. shotzongoal - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Shut the f**k up Donny!

  5. blomfeld - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM


    “The four most popular sports among the general population of the United States are exercise walking (90 million), exercising with equipment (53 million), swimming (52 million) and camping (47 million). The most popular competitive sport (and fifth most popular recreational sport) is bowling (43 million). Other most popular sports are fishing (35 million), bicycling (37 million), weightlifting (33 million), aerobics (30 million), and hiking (28 million)” … Wikipedia

    The bottom line is that bowling’s 43 million “active” players in the United States alone literally “dwarfs” any comparable numbers relating to ice hockey, which is estimated to be only 1.1 million in terms of people “actively” playing the game in North America. As for the NHL’s much ballyhooed 3.3 billion in revenue ? Again, they would be well served to keep things in perspective, by taking the greater picture into perspective.

    Total annual NA expenditures on various products & services:

    1.5 billion – bananas
    3.0 billion – tooth paste
    7.5 billion – potato chips
    8.5 billion – chocolates and sweets
    22.0 billion – movies, concerts & theater
    29.0 billion – cosmetics and beauty supplies
    82.0 billion – non-essential clothing & fashion accessories

    • mountainmantride - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      Awesome summary, with FACTS to boot! And, what’s even more in line with how a lot of NHL fans, the owners and players have this misguided fantasy that the NHL is one of the “big time” sports in the USA…well, here’s another fact: 111.3 million people watched the 2012 superbowll; and a ‘whooping’ 3.01 million people watched the 2012 Stanley Cup. Oh, and that NHL number was DOWN 34% from the previous year. So blomfeld is right, “How you wish Babcock.”

      • blomfeld - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:19 PM

        Armies of attractive women and lakes of expensive wine …

        Mountainmanride … it’s my wish friend that your holidays are filled with these things and more ! :)

    • elvispocomo - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      Just to be contrary (or perhaps completist), what are the numbers for the professional sport versions of those activities? I.E. how many professional bowlers are there (not just in a league) compared to how many play in professional hockey (NHL, AHL, ECHL) in the US?

      It is nice to see chocolate and potato chips ranking higher in expenditures than bananas though.

  6. raulduke11 - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    This aggression will not stand, man

  7. acieu - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Babcock bad mouth bowling and you will end up in the gutter.

  8. wsphloyd - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Get FIRE BETTMAN T-shirts and other gifts at:

    Gary Bettman must go!!!!

  9. sportsfan69 - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:59 PM

  10. biffnasty - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    This is not Nom dude, there are rules

  11. ducksk - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Babcock always looses his thoughts. Passionate man, for sure. Einstein not so much. He needs some White Russians to chill out a little. Maybe go bowling.

  12. boondocksaint7 - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    At least bowling is not locked out.

  13. boondocksaint7 - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Hockey is getting Muncined!

  14. crambow - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    “Mark Roth invented the pocket forecheck” – Chris Schenkel

  15. ducksk - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Babcock always has a scowl on his face. Like he just threw a gutter ball. Oops he did.

  16. falstaffsmind - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    There is more English Premier League soccer on tv than the NHL had last year and it’s on Fox and ESPN, not Versus. This league is literally flushing itself down the toilet.

  17. whatthepuck2012 - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Camping is a sport??

  18. apwarrior250 - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Professional Bowling ratings are higher in the U.S than NHL ratings on TV.

  19. cvgconstruction - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Yeah they are still bowling!

  20. omniusprime - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Just like bowling the NHL sissies in pads with sticks on ice can succeed without much physical conditioning, and considering how belligerent they are when playing it’s obvious they drink heavily before games. That’s why they turn into cheap shot fests where the players use hockey as an excuse to club each other senseless. Face it the NHL is the most despicable excuse for a pro sport ever.

    Hockey Stick – Apply Directly to the Forehead!

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