Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Is it really even close?
Let me explain.
No regular season among the four sports is worse than the NHL's.
It just drags on and on (it didn't this season because of the lockout; instead
it was great because it was so short) as our teams all slog through 82 games
that seem to run into one another.
The NFL's regular season is great because with only 16 games each one is
The NBA plays too many games, too, but each one has a winner. No overtime ties.
And no confusion whether or not your team got a point or lost a point.
And baseball is baseball. We're used to 162 games and it carries us through the
summer and into the fall.
But when it comes time for the playoffs, is anything better than the NHL?
The goonery all but stops and the guys paid to fight during the regular season
are now paid to sit in the press box and watch the guys with actual skills play
And, best of all, where you finished during the regular season doesn't matter a
whit. Just get in and you have a chance - a real chance.
Just look back to last year at what the Los Angeles Kings did. They made the
postseason as the eighth and final seed out of the Western Conference and won
the Stanley Cup. To top it off, on their road to eventually beating the New
Jersey Devils in six games for the Cup, the Kings beat the top three seeds in
the Western Conference. Phenomenal.
No other team in North American history had ever been seeded that low and won
everything. But you had to figure it would happen first in ice hockey because
it's so wide open.
The best teams during the regular season, especially in the NBA, usually end up
playing for the title. But ice hockey, not so much.
Now, when you look at the current playoffs, one team jumps out at you - the
They smoked their way through the regular season thanks to an unreal start -
the Chicago Blackhawks opened up with a 21-0-3 mark before finally losing - and
are the favorites to win the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup and second in four
But, it's never easy in the NHL. Just consider where we are now - in the
opening round of the playoffs.
There are eight series going on as we speak and in only half of them did one
team win the first two games.
That in itself is wacky. Teams play all season for home ice advantage in the
postseason and that advantage can be gone in an instant. Just go back again to
the Kings last year. They had a 10-0 stretch of road wins during their run.
Crazy, but true.
So, where does all of this leave us now?
The playoffs have just started, but who will be hoisting the Stanley Cup next
The easy pick would be the Blackhawks. They're young, really good, and showed
how dominant they could be over the 48-game regular season.
But, as we said, the regular season doesn't count for much. That's why I can't
go Chicago's way.
I'd like to pick the Bruins because of all that Boston has gone through with
the Boston Marathon tragedy, but I can't see that happening.
As for the Kings, repeating as champs is really hard to do and they won't be
The team that will win their first Stanley Cup is the Washington Capitals. The
Caps soared through the end of the season and went from playoff afternoon
thought to division champ.
Alex Ovechkin remains on fire and he is going to lead the way as the Caps knock
off the St. Louis Blues in six games.
We'll revisit this in a few weeks and see where we stand.
Until then, just enjoy the show because the NHL does the playoffs better than
The Sports Network