Be Smart, Watch The NHL Playoffs

Be Smart, Watch The NHL Playoffs
15 Apr 2015

Besides the time period of mid-August till November 1st, the second best time on the sports calendar is right around the corner.  No I’m not talking about baseball or the NBA playoffs, but the real athletes who sacrifice life and limb every night for Lord Stanley. The NHL playoffs are by far the best postseason tournament of the big four sports. It is not an exaggeration to say every single game is ridiculously intense. Let’s go through the key points as to why you need to watch:

Playoff Beards:

It is the only time of the year that hockey players will gladly not shave and resemble a bunch of homeless dudes on skates. I have tried to grow a playoff beard and I must say not shaving for two months without being a professional athlete is quite taxing.

Mike “Doc” Emrick:

The voice of hockey should be reason enough to watch. His ability to speak as fast as the puck is moving is breathtaking. If you can’t get excited listening to his call you should check if your blood is red.


There is no other sport where more players play through injuries then in the NHL. Let’s start with Greg Campbell who broke his leg yet continued to kill off the power play.  My personal favorite is Patrice Bergeron who played a Stanley Cup game with a broken rib, torn rib cartilage and a separated shoulder. I feel wimpy just writing this.

Sudden Death:

No, I’m not talking about the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Without fail, every year the NHL playoffs give the fans one or two marathon games. Sudden death playoff hockey is theater like you’ve never seen before. At the least expected moment, the greatest play may happen. Unlike in the NFL where each team sort of gets a possession or in the NBA with 5:00 OT’s, the NHL plays a full 20:00 OT and they keep going until someone scores. The Penguins and Flyers played a five-OT game in 2000. To put in perspective, that’s 8 periods which equals to almost 3 games.

van damme


Did I mention that in hockey if you don’t like the other team, you could just fight them? Growing up in Detroit I witnessed one of the greatest rivalries between the Red Wings and Avalanche. Today, you have rivalries all across the board. If you’re an American team playing a Canadian opponent, have fun not sleeping in your hotel for a few nights.

Seeding does not matter:

All we have to do is look at the Los Angeles Kings of 2012. They won the Stanley Cup as the 8th seed.  In the other big sports, home games matter but in hockey the away teams hold their ground. A 1-8 match-up can be more exciting than the 4-5 series.


Lord Stanley Frequent Flyer Miles

What other sport allows each player of the winning team to have one day during the off-season to do whatever they’d like with the trophy? The answer would be no one else. Drinking out of the trophy you just won is a good time but taking the Stanley Cup to your hometown of 1,500 will guarantee that you’ll never have to pay for another meal at the local diner.

The Hand Shake

No matter what happened between the first and last whistle, a level of respect is always shown at the culmination of every NHL playoff series with both teams shaking hands at center ice. If your team won, it’s great to point at the TV and laugh at the loser and if you’re on the losing side it’s gut wrenching to watch your guys shake the hands of the team you should have beat.


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