Playoffs bring hockey back to life
Pittsburgh Penguins centre Brandon Sutter (16) reacts after left wing Jussi Jokinen (not pictured) scored a goal on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden, May 7, 2014; New York, NY. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4 - 2 to take a 3 - 1 series lead. (Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
I watched far too many games this year with the life sucked out of them. I was worried for the state of hockey. Then the playoffs happened.
I was convinced the dead puck era was back. Goal scoring was down. Long gone were the days of multiple 50-goal scorers. Only Ovechkin hit the 50 mark. And by 50 mark I, of course, mean he chased 50 coaches out of Washington.
Players led their entire team in offence with paltry point totals in the 40s and 50s. With the exception of a handful of elite-market teams, hockey's regular season became unwatchable.
Then we flipped the calendar to April 16 and witnessed the most exciting first round any of us could have dreamed of.
@pffoote: “One might think these @NHL playoffs are scripted to be this good. Amazing how close and entertaining practically every game/series has been.”
What major sport wouldn't want their playoff promo to read "No Lead Is Safe?”
@BWildeCTV: “Comebacks still making these the best NHL playoffs in ages. Boston scores 4 in under 10. LA ties with 7 seconds left wins in OT. Amazing.”
@geowiz85: “Seriously, the NHL has by far the most exciting playoffs. I dare you to make an argument for another sport #BecauseItsTheCup.”
Full confession: during certain games this regular season I found myself switching over to an old friend — the NBA.
Suddenly I knew the Timberwolves’ starting five. How long did I switch over for?
@Jack5261: “If you choose NBA playoffs over NHL playoffs you need to re-evaluate your life.”
This season made me re-evaluate my love for hockey and where it was headed.
@DarthAlexander9: “Once upon a time boys and girls a two-goal lead was a good thing!”
It was a dark age known as the dead puck era.
I survived the first one — there are no guarantees I'd survive a second.
Thank you playoffs.