The ordered chaos of the game is exhilarating and captivating. Graceful skaters turn into flailing creatures sprawling across the ice. The leaderdship, effort and sacrifice the players put into every game is exhausting just to watch.
I am talking about the best playoffs in sports; I am talking about the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
We all love the Super Bowl, March Madness and the NBA playoffs, but none of them compare can touch the intense atmosphere involved in a NHL playoff game.
Last night was the opening night of the playoffs. We saw the Flyers come back from a 3-0 deficit in Pittsburgh, to beat the Penguins 4-3 on OT. We saw the #1 seeded Vancouver Canucks lose at home to the #8 seeded Los Angeles Kings. We also saw the Predators hold of the Red Wings 3-2 in what has become one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL.
In the second night there were four games and three of them went into sudden death overtime.
Things are just getting started and each round will only get more intense.
Here are five reasons why you don’t want to miss any action in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
- Overtime: There is nothing better in sports than sudden-death overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you thought the energy in a regulation playoff game was mesmerizing, wait until you watch overtime. You’ll be on the edge of your seat for every shift, pass, shot and check. I guarantee it.
- The Handshake: There is no better tradition in sports then the handshakes after a series has ended. For a minimum of four games two teams mentally and physically try to destroy one another. Then when it’s all said and done the two teams lineup at center ice to shake hands. It’s an act of respect and integrity that no other playoffs in sports can offer.
- Anyone Can Win: Every single year there is never a more wide-open postseason than the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since the 2005 lockout the higher-seeded team has won 30 of 48 first-round matchups, or 62.5 percent. In the NBA, the higher-seeded team has won 79.2% of the time, over the same time frame. There is no single player that means more to his team’s playoff chances than a hot goaltender in hockey. In 2006 Cam Ward was a backup goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, when he one the Conn Smythe Trophy, leading the ‘Canes to the Stanley Cup. In 2003 the 8th seeded Anaheim Ducks road the pas of Jean-Sebastien Giguere all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. He won the Conn Smythe trophy despite losing to the Devils in the championship.
- Superstitions: When playoff hockey comes around not much is guaranteed, but one thing is, BEARDS. No sport does the playoff beard quite like hockey does. Just check this out. The conference champions also don’t touch the conference championship trophies. It’s considered bad luck and is one of the most underrated superstitions in sports.
- The Stanley Cup: It is the best trophy in sports. Lord Stanley’s Cup is the oldest trophy in sports. Lord Stanley donated the original cup in 1892 and the NHL didn’t even play its first game until 1917. Every player who has won the cup in the history of the NHL has their name engraved on it; it’s an honor unlike any other in sports. One of the greatest traditions in sports is that every player gets a day with the Stanley Cup when they win it. Here are some stories on what some players did on their day with the cup.