Brent Sopel on the current NHL and it's players: I hate it.

Brent Sopel on the current NHL and it's players: I hate it.

The former Stanley Cup champion shares his perspective on the current state of the National Hockey League.

Jonathan Larivee

Over the course of my lifetime the National Hockey League has rapidly evolved from the sport it once was to the sport that it is today. A pair of major lockoutes and a number of fairly drastic rule changes have altered the game a great deal, but not everyone believes those changes have been positive.

There is definitely an old school type of mentality that has remained engrained in many of those in and around the game of hockey, and recently former Stanley Cup champion Brent Sopel made it clear he is a member of that club. During an appearance on a podcast with former NHL enforcer Chris "Knuckles" Nilan, Sopel was asked to share his feelings on the changes that have been made to the game and he did not pull any punches.

"You know.... I hate it," said Sopel after pausing for a moment. "I care about the team.... selfish people is where you lose me and that's what the game is."

Although many would be quick to lay the blame entirely at the feet of the NHL itself for the changes, Sopel's ire seemed to be mostly directed at the players themselves.

"We would never, ever, show up another team or an opponent the way these guys love to do it," said Sopel. "You've got what's his face in Anaheim.... I would take a two hander right to his teeth and love every second of it."

Sopel was speaking of Anaheim's Trevor Zegras when he made those comments, but he also had some harsh words for other players as well.

"Guys like [Michael] Bunting... dude back in the day you would have got your teeth knocked in, you wouldn't be running around doing what you're doing," said Sopel.

Sopel also lamented the lack of intensity on the ice, especially when it comes to animosity between opponents.

"I miss the battles," said Sopel. "The war, we went together, it's not there anymore."

You can listen to the full interview with Sopel below, but his comments on the state of the game begin around the 26 minute mark.