Stanley Cup: Watch Charles Barkley Slams NBA, Praises NHL Playoffs

Edmonton Oilers captain Wayne Gretzky

Stanley Cup: Watch Charles Barkley Slams NBA, Praises NHL Playoffs

But still, the NHL is embracing Charles Barkley's hockey fandom.

"Literally", Barkley joked. "But I'm going on a diet".

Five catfish, several towels, a stuffed penguin and a cowboy hat hit the ice Saturday night in the Predators' 5-1 win over Pittsburgh, which pulled Nashville within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Charles Barkley, the National Basketball Association on TNT analyst, made a surprise appearance at the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night, where he criticized the quality of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

While analyzing the Western Conference semifinal - which ended in another sweep by the Golden State Warriors - Barkley said "Thank God for the National Hockey League playoffs, that's what I've been watching in the back".

Barkley, the 1993 NBA MVP who retired in 2000 when he became an analyst for TNT, took the opportunity to bash modern-day basketball, and praise the quality of the hockey.

Thanks to a night off in the NBA Finals, Barkley took up NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on his invitation to come watch the pucks in person.

And he calls Stanley Cup overtime hockey the craziest thing anyone will ever see, just one reason why he loves the sport. "It's the craziest thing you're ever going to see".

"I started following hockey actually in Birmingham, Alabama", Barkley said. Barkley said he has attended a number of Stanley Cup playoff games over the years in Chicago.

He was seen at Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings, so it's no surprise that you see Barkley at an National Hockey League event during the biggest event on the calendar for the sport. "I said, 'Hey, I've got nothing to do.' I'm really looking forward to tonight".

"The best thing about my job is when I'm in work for two straight months, like the NHL Playoffs, I'm in a room with 20 televisions", Barkley said Monday. "The NBA playoffs have not been very good", he said.

Barkley's enthusiasm for hockey stems from his time with the Sixers, when he became a Philadelphia Fliers fanatic. I think from (Mark) Messier to (Glenn) Anderson to (Coffey) to Kevin Lowe to Kurri, we showed up for practice.

"It has not been a lot of fun broadcasting (NBA) games this year".

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