Today: Apr 21, 2024

Sports Commentary: NHL playoffs where anything can happen

Pete Paguaga, Sports Editor:
The month of April is winding its way down, and do you know what time it is? It’s NHL playoff time. Now don’t all of you jump out of your seats so fast, because I know that about half of you reading this don’t like hockey.
Being a Yankees fan, I have gone to some playoff games in every round. I’ve been to a few Giants playoff games in my day, and I honestly won’t spend money going to an NBA playoff game to watch one guy try and win the game by himself. I have also been to Islanders playoff games, when they made the playoffs when I was a kid, and nothing compares to the atmosphere of the building. The roof was about to come down, and trust me, it wasn’t because the building is in terrible condition.
In the MLB playoffs, there are only eight teams overall, which makes the regular season so much more important. In the NFL playoffs, home field advantage plays such a huge role that the regular season matters.
The NHL playoffs have a combined 16 teams and home field advantage doesn’t mean squat. At the end of last week, the home teams in the playoffs were 13-12, so when everyone says that anyone can win, it is actually possible.
Last season saw a match up of the seventh and eighth seed in the Eastern Conference play for a spot in the Stanley Cup. The only time an eighth seed has made it to the championship in the NBA was when the Knicks did it, in 1999-2000 in a strike-shortened
season. The NHL is so even across the board that anyone can win.
Some unnamed goalies, like Cam Ward, Michael Leighton, Antti Niemi, got hot and led their teams to championships. When was the last time that happened in the three other major sports, other than when Tom Brady came in for Drew Bledsoe when he got hurt? Even then, Brady still had to rest of the reason to really get going. Leighton got hurt at end of the season and then when the goalie ahead of him got hurt, he came back in, in the middle of the playoffs and went to the Stanley Cup. Ward played 28 games in regular season then 23 in playoffs and won cup, and Niemi played 39 and then 22 for Blackhawks to win the cup.
In no other league can this happen. What, are Bill Walker and Jared Jefferies going to lead the Knicks to the championship with Stoudemire out? No. If Aaron Rodgers gets hurt in the first playoff game last year, does Matt Flynn lead them all the way? Definitely not. And in baseball one guy can’t carry the team the whole playoffs, because pitchers pitch once every few days and hitters are one of nine.
The NHL is where history will be made, every time the puck is dropped, you might want to tune in, because I guarantee you will miss something special if you don’t.

1 Comment

  1. Nice job Pete. Maybe you will get others to watch hockey. Good series to bad the Rangers lost 🙁
    Keep Rocking

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