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Nick Bakay's Tale of the Tape: NHL vs. WWF

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Now that Tie Domi has lifted his water-bottle squirting to playoff intensity, it raises an interesting question about hockey and its limited, if enthusiastic, fan base:

Tie Domi
Tie Domi
If the NHL wants to raise the profile of hockey, why not sell America on the sheer anarchy of playoff hockey violence -- that special time of the hockey year when teeth spill over the ice like a spilt box of chicklets? Shouldn't the NHL stop apologizing for its physical, agenda-ridden game and embrace the beast?

Think about it -- it's the only marketing pocket left for hockey. The NBA is synonymous with urban, NASCAR owns country, and the NFL and MLB have divvied up the middle class.

I say: Go bad-ass. This is a strange game that most Americans have never played. But we can relate to series of jabs to the nose. Violence sells in the New Millennium. How else do you explain the single greatest marketing miracle of the last 15 years, the WWF? And their fights aren't even real! In fact, the XFL has proved they don't have a good handle on real. But if you want to sell a game where scar tissue and blurred vision are the only way you know you've advanced to the next round, what better flag to fly?

Is it really that simple? Pro hockey, pro wrestling, let's see how they stack up at the Tale of the Tape ...

Nick Bakay's Tale of the Tape: NHL vs. WWF
Category WWF NHL Advantage
Fights Fake Real NHL
Shoulders Real Fake WWF
How to be an All-Star Have a working tail surgically implanted Get on the same line as Jagr WWF
Most dangerous place to be Guarding the supplement cabinet In front of the net Push
Gouge A way to attack your opponent's eyeball A way to describe ticket pricing WWF
Where else can you see ...? A man spend long periods of time with his head squeezed by another man's buttocks 12 men on the ice, three teeth Push
Colorful characters The enigma that is Mankind The organist who plays the "Dragnet" theme when there's a penalty WWF
Standard equipment Quivering, greased man-flanks More facial scars than the entire Jackson family WWF
How to tell when a guy has been hit hard The guy hitting him stomps on the canvas extra-loud. He don't get up. NHL
Where the sports were born At the corner of Sadist and Latent Streets A pond NHL
Most exciting moment A cage match with an electric fence A penalty shot with a bouncing puck WWF
Why some of them wear masks To hide their identity until they can think up a new character So they can also play goalie in Mexico Push
World's largest source of 270-pound men with peroxide blonde hair Male rhinoplasty NHL
Dullest moments When the fans trail into the arena, leaving a wake of drool Icing NHL
Toys The Undertaker action figure puts a toe tag on dispatched victims. The Stu Grimson action figure (brass knuckles and Bible optional) actually gives pummeled Swedes last rights. WWF
Franchises that have yet to take off Stone Cold Steve Austin's world of unfinished Pine furniture Jaromir Jagr's House of late '70s Hair NHL, a props to mullets everywhere
Stage names Rowdy Roddy Piper Miroslav Satan NHL. There. I did it. Now are you satisfied, oh, Dark One?
Face off A result A start NHL
Movies that did nothing for the sport Hulk Hogan is "Mr. Nanny!" "Mystery, Alaska" is whimsical! WWF
The lucky ones retire, then become ... Bouncers Analysts on the radio broadcast Push
The ref looks the other way When a wrestler sneaks a foreign object in the ring When Brett Hull scores the final goal of the season WWF, and don't let them tell you I keep hammering this home because I'm from Buffalo. Can you put a qualifier on justice?

So there you have it. In a triple suplex during four-on-four OT, the advantage goes ... to the WWF. But if the NHL was taking notes, this country will have a Zamboni in every garage. Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a Web site at

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