Five reasons why the NHL playoffs are the best in sports
With traditions like no other sport, the annual NHL postseason never disappoints.
Surprising comebacks, astounding player heroics, and enthralling Game 7 sudden deaths that push playoff-bearded players to the brink, are but just a few reasons why the NHL playoffs are the best in all professional sports.
Eight weeks of war and pain are what the NHL playoffs are all about, and for what? A chance to kiss hockey’s holy grail.
With that being said, we have assembled a the top 5 best reasons the NHL playoffs offer fans an experience like no other.
5. The handshake — The post season hockey handshake line may be the game’s greatest tradition. And while no one really knows when or how it began, the laying down arms to congratulate one another after a hard-fought, is the embodiment of pure sportsmanship.
4. Game sevens — A chance for players to face the game’s utmost pressure, and of course, to score the winning goal. Game 7 becomes the ultimate winner-take-all dream and it never gets mundane. Played out over and over again by every kid that picks up a stick or ball, it’s a chance for an NHL player to live the dream. It all comes down to one game, and that’s what makes each Game 7 so compelling.
3. Surprise teams — Once a NHL postseason begins, fans can forget about the regular season, as it is not uncommon to see a top-ranked team knocked of their quest for the Cup by a lower seed. Take for example the Los Angeles Kings, who did the unthinkable in 2012. After squeaking into the postseason, LA stunned the hockey world by knocking off the Vancouver Canucks in a five-game first-round upset. Then they swept the second-seeded St. Louis Blues, and took out the third-ranked Phoenix Coyotes in five. The Kings sealed the deal in the Cup Final, beating the Devils on their way to the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup title.
2. Unlikely heroes — Some of those surprise teams are often fueled by improbable heroes, and it is well within the realm of playoff hockey that these unlikely champions emerge from the depths of mediocrity to lead his team to victory. Case in point, when John Druce was called upon to replace an injured Dino Ciccarelli, and went on to score 14 goals in 15 games, including nine in five-game win, which ended the favored New York Rangers playoff run.
1. Bizarre rituals — And while the New York Islanders began one of hockey’s great traditions — the playoff beard. There is perhaps no better or bizarre sports ritual than the one that started in Detroit back in 1952. That’s when Pete and Jerry Cusimano smuggled the first octopus past Olympia arena security and waited for the perfect moment to launch it onto the ice during a Red Wings playoff game. Since then the practice has taken flight, and even though the eight legs of an octopus symbolized the once needed eight wins to capture the Stanley Cup, it’s not uncommon to still see a dozen or more cephalopods tossed onto the playing surface over the course of a Detroit playoff run, if for nothing other than the sake of hockey’s wildest tradition.
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