Thursday, August 20, 2009

Under Pressure

When Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta signed with the Montreal Canadiens during the off-season, they signed on with one of, if not the, most storied franchise in the NHL.

With one stroke of the pen, they also signed on to go up against the angriest, most short-tempered, hardened group of people on the planet...the Montreal press.

For a player in Montreal, the only thing that makes them more nervous than having the Boston Bruins "house on skates" Milan Lucic coming at them in the corner like a runaway train, is having 83 year old Montreal Gazette columnist Red Fisher storming up to them after the game.

Lets face it, some players flourish playing hockey in a place like Phoenix, because you might get one reporter asking you questions after a game. Whereas in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver...anywhere in get almost as many reporters in your locker room, as there are fans in the building in Phoenix.

What about the other sports? Which places have the most ruthless media? What cities have scribes and mugs that put so much pressure on a player, that they can break that player down?

MLB - New York. Hands down. Sure the Mets get lots of coverage but if you end up with the New York Yankees, you better be ready to perform at an elite level from day one of spring training or the press will bury you. Numerous players have had their slumps magnified by the New York press so much, that they just can't recover. Ask Chuck Knoblauch.

NBA - As of today, Cleveland. The Cavaliers have all-world Lebron James. They've just added Shaquille O'Neal. They are SUPPOSED to be the team that can win it all...but continue to let the fans (and media) down. Anything less than a championship will be considered a colossal failure...and the Cleveland press will let everyone know it.

NFL - Since I've already mentioned New York (actually, the New York press could be mentioned for ALL the sports)...lets say Buffalo (ya I know they're in New York too.) What else do the Buffalo press have to cover? The Sabres? The Bills are the lifeblood of Buffalo and the four straight Super Bowl losses have turned the Buffalo media into a wild pack of dogs that are out for blood. It's a perfect fit for Terrell Owens!

I won't even get into international soccer because that takes things to a completely different level. But the common understanding is that if you play soccer internationally for Italy, you better have a good psychiatrist because the Italian media will drive you bonkers.

What are your thoughts? Which cities have the most ruthless media? Where are the players under the most pressure?


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