Last Thursday night, I decided to go to The Shack along with some of my friends to watch Game 5 of the Sharks-Avalanche series, which was tied 2-2. The entire place was packed full of Sharks fans who wanted to see them win just as much as I did.
Throughout the game, the place would erupt into jubilation following every Sharks goal and chants of “Lets go Sharks!” would ensue. There is nothing in the world that can match playoff hockey, and I found myself throwing around high-fives to complete strangers because they were fans like me.
Playoff hockey is unlike any other sport due to the fast-paced nature of the game that constantly keeps fans on the edge of their seats. Every play could decide the game since each goal is important and hard to come by.
In the NBA, playoff games seem to drag on and there are very few upsets that occur. Most of the time, people only have to tune in to the fourth quarter since that is normally when all the action and excitement occurs.
In comparing the two sports, the NHL has more parody throughout the league, which makes for more entertaining hockey since the series are close and upsets occur. The number one team in the league this year, the Washington Capitals, are going to a seventh game against the number eight seed, the Montreal Canadiens. Now I know the Lakers are tied with the Thunder right now, but it is more common in the NHL to see lower-seeded teams upset the higher seeds.
Also, there is no comparison in the excitement generated by a NHL overtime game. The best part about overtime is it can be over in an instant or last three or four sessions. The unpredictable nature of overtime is what makes it special and anybody can be the hero.
The NBA post-season really heats up in the conference finals and NBA Finals, but the hockey playoffs are intense throughout. Players fight through all kinds of injuries and there is nothing better than the tradition of growing out playoff beards.
In my mind, the Stanley Cup is harder to win than the NBA championship because of the physicality involved in the NHL.
The only complaint I have with the NHL playoffs is that they are on Versus. The NBA playoffs can be found on ESPN, TNT and ABC which means that all games are televised.
I know the NHL will never generate as much hype or buzz as the NBA due to stars such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. However, the NHL does hold one advantage: the excitement level and brand of play in the playoffs.