|This image didn't exactly impress the hockey players. (Getty Images)|
Hockey players are constantly -- and rightfully so -- lauded for their toughness. You have guys like Rob Scuderi leaving the ice a bloody mess, getting stitched up and returning to start the next period in the Stanley Cup Final. Put another way, hockey players are kind of crazy in their perseverence through injuries.
They're proud of it too, that toughness. So proud that they just can't hold back from spouting off when they see somebody in another sport like LeBron James hobbling up and down the court in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Let's just say they're tougher than that.
Thanks to fine folks at CBS Boston, we have a collection of tweets from hockey players who were unimpressed by LeBron in the Heat's Game 4 victory over the Thunder.
No really, have a look at some of the samplings.
I wonder what kind of face LeBron would make if he took a slapper off the laces?— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) June 20, 2012
what a gutsy performance by lebron #not— Alex Goligoski (@gollygoose33) June 20, 2012
We get it Lebron, it doesn't hurt when you're running around but it looks unbearable when the cameras are close up during the timeouts.— Nick Bonino (@NickBonino) June 20, 2012
And then my personal favorite comes from Taylor Hall, although it's not about LeBron, just the game in general.
So much flopping going on.. Wondering what these bball players would do if they got a skate in the face haha— Taylor Hall (@hallsy04) June 20, 2012
Of course, Hall is referencing that gruesome situation from this season that left him looking like the brother of Frankenstein.
It's easy to mock LeBron and it is the thing to do, I get that. But I don't believe it was all for show. No way he sits out the final minute of a close game if he's not really hampered. If so, that's some extraordinary commitment to the act.
This I do know, though: A hockey player would have no doubt played through it. I remember talking to Lightning goalie Dustin Tokarski after making his first NHL start and he was so cramped he couldn't stand. He required two IVs after the game. He said he could barely close his glove hand during the game. Yet he made it to the final horn.
Of course, not all hockey players were ganging up on LeBron. Paul Bissonnette, Twitter star and enforcer for the Phoenix Coyotes, had LeBron's back on Wednesday.
Conclusion: Hockey players are very tough, not only in their ability to play through pain but in their criticism of others who don't. It's a hockey thing, you just wouldn't understand.
H/t to Greg Wyshynski