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I'm writing today to express my feelings that the NHL Playoffs, perhaps more than any other event, exemplify the spirit of sport. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are more than just a tournament; they are a lifestyle for players and fans alike. Even for the non die-hard hockey fan like myself, the Stanley Cup Playoffs truly are a spectacle worth watching. I'll outline some of the reasons here.
For one, the hockey is at the highest level that it is all season. These are the best players in the world, and they are giving it everything that they have. The competition is fierce, as there is no greater reward for a player than winning the Stanley Cup. The play is chippy, fights break out, and the players clearly do not like each other. The intensity in a Stanley Cup Playoff game is as much or more than it is in any other sporting event. Players and fans love this.
Another key that makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs one of the best events in sports is competitiveness of each series. More so than any other professional league, the better team does not always win. The series are generally very competitive. Take the Islanders-Penguins
series. The Penguins had the best record in the east, while the New York Islanders
came in with the eighth-best record in the conference. The Penguins won the series 4-2. Three games were decided by just a goal, and two of them went to overtime. The underdog has a chance in the NHL and that is yet another feature that makes the NHL Playoffs so captivating.
Another reason to watch is the chance that each game can turn a marginal player into a household name. We all know the top players, the Ovechkin's and the Crosby's of the world. But how many of us knew who Brooks Orpik
was. The Penguin defender had not scored a goal the entire season, nor had he lit the lamp in his postseason career prior to Saturday night's contest vs. the Islanders. Against the odds, Orpik scored in overtime to win the game for Pittsburgh, who advanced to the second round with the win. Heroes can be made in the NHL Playoffs, and Brooks Orpik was just that for the Penguins.
Finally, the tradition of the Stanley Cup playoffs makes it one of the finest events. At the end of every playoff series, players and coaches line up across from each other and engage in a handshake line. Considered to be one of the best traditions in sports, it epitomizes sportsmanship. These players have battled as physically as they can for up to seven games, but at the end of the series, they have each other's respect. It truly does make the playoffs great.
If you're a hockey fan, you'll probably agree with a lot of what I just said. But if you're not, I urge you to give the playoffs a chance. The competitiveness, effort, love of the game, and respect make it one of the best events in sports. In a sports world where contracts and player-coach disputes rule, it is refreshing to watch an event where players give everything they can for the name on the front of the jersey. They do it all for a chance to hold the Stanley Cup. - Matt Rogers 5-12-13
The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at Pensburgh.com. FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.