Sir Charles is selling himself short, according to Roenick. “He knows sports and he always has an opinion,” Roenick said, laughing. “He would have no problem telling Mike and I what we don’t know about the game. Roenick predicted that if Barkley joined NBC’s team for a game “it would be the highest-rated hockey program of all-time.”
Barkley lives in Arizona and attends five to 10 Coyotes game per season. He’s also following the career of Arizona native Auston Matthews, who is a young star with the Toronto Maple Leafs. “But really I root for the guys who are great but didn’t win a championship because I’m on that list,” he said. “At the start of the playoffs, I was rooting for Henrik Lundqvist, (Alex) Ovechkin and Joe Thornton.”
With the Stanley Cup Final starting tonight, he’s rooting for the Predators because their franchise has never won. He’s also a fan of Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban. “It’s tough because one of my best friends is (Pittsburgh assistant coach) Rick Tocchet,” Barkley said. He said his NBA buddies have started paying more attention to the NHL because of Seth Jones. He’s the son of former NBA player and long-time coach Popeye Jones.
I also spoke with Leonsis, and he talked about the value he adds to Team Liquid, as someone with several NBA and NHL lockouts in his rearview mirror. “How do you deal with players and one day a union that emerges to represent the players? I’ve been on the executive committee of the NHL, I’ve worked on the CBA negotiations, and that I think will become important one day,” Leonsis said.
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The Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks have advanced to the championship rounds of their respective leagues, the ninth time a metro region has hosted the NBA and NHL finals at the same time. It marks the first time those sports have simultaneously contested their finals west of such subzero climates as New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. For fans, it has been a thrilling, exhausting spring, summoning game faces night after night — sometimes on the same night — for two “home” teams. “There have been a lot of late nights over the past month,” said Dan Fisher, a Sharks season ticket holder. He watched Monday night’s Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Britannia Arms in downtown San Jose, despite the periodic “annoyance” of the Warriors’ Game 7 win over Oklahoma City playing on many of the bar’s TVs.