Shaq would be better hockey player than Barkley, NHL stars say

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The age-old debate has finally been settled: Shaquille O’Neal would be a better hockey player than Charles Barkley. 

Players from around the NHL, including Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, weighed in on the “NBA on TNT” Thursday with their picks of which NBA legend could star on the ice.

Shaq won in a slam dunk. 

Crosby, Kane, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Seth Jones of the Blackhawks, Jacob Trouba of the New York Rangers, Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames and Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues all picked Shaq, who won four championships during his 19 NBA seasons.

Trouba had perhaps the best reason for not picking Barkley, an 11-time NBA All Star known in his playing days as the “Round Mound of Rebound”. 

“Chuck’s a little bit more top-heavy,” Trouba said.

MacKinnon and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning went with Barkley, though Stamkos admitted he was a bit biased.

“I would say Chuck because he’s a big Lightning fan,” Stamkos said.

Tkachuk, known for getting under opponents’ skin, said Shaq would be the better player, but “Charles would be more annoying to play against.” 

Wayne Gretzky, the NHL all-time leading scorer and studio analyst for the “NHL on TNT,” then offered tips to each of them during a puck-shooting contest between Shaq, Barkley and “NBA on TNT” co-hosts Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. 

Barkley had trouble holding the stick correctly before he shot the pucks.

“I’ve told him four times now,” Gretzky said. “He thinks it’s curling.” 

Neither player looked comfortable shooting the puck, but Gretzky is certainly settling in at TNT. 

“I’m loving it,” Gretzky said. “We hope to have as much fun in the hockey world as you guys are having in basketball world.”

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