Hey, the NHL playoffs are actually pretty great

Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights makes a save against Victor Rask of the Minnesota Wild in the first period of Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights makes a save against Victor Rask of the Minnesota Wild in the first period of Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Image: Getty Images

Playoff hockey is really cool, and my Twitter timeline seems to agree. It was littered yesterday with tweets echoing the sentiment that playoff hockey is the best of sports. I have to be honest — even my football-loving heart would agree. Seemingly every year, there’s a physicality and an intensity that other sports simply can’t match. The NHL playoffs started yesterday with four games — all four were decided by one goal, with three of the four going to overtime. That’s some high theater.

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Hockey as a sport is criminally underrated. Even for myself, who didn’t grow up in a hockey town and really only started to somewhat pay attention to the sport within the last couple years, I admit that I didn’t watch as much during this season as I wanted to. Maybe it’s the lack of advertising, or the lack of primetime spots. While the sports world is subjected to Alex Rodriguez providing baseball commentary on ESPN on a Sunday night, the NHL can often be found on your favorite channel full of Shark Tank and investment opportunities… CNBC.

Adding to the drama, playoff hockey has phenomenal intricacies sure to raise your cortisol levels. There are exactly no commercial breaks, meaning the constant stream of energy and action is never broken. When games go to overtime, which happened a lot yesterday, it’s sudden death. Nothing is better for sports and worse for your heart than sudden death. Add in a late-game goalie pull to try and even the score, and playoff hockey is perfect for adrenaline junkies.

I love other sports. Football is my first love, but being bombarded by a Bud Light ad every 45 seconds can be excruciating. My least favorite sequence in all of sports viewing happens in football, and often I use it as an opportunity to use the restroom or refill my dri— er, snacks. Touchdown. Commercial. Extra point. Commercial. Kickoff. Commercial. It’s brutally painful.

Not only can the viewing experience be cumbersome, but as the Super Bowl has shown us on more than one occasion, the NFL championship game can actually be quite boring. We were treated to two incredible games in a row in 2018 and 2019, with the Patriots making their absurd 28-3 comeback in one and the Eagles pulling the upset in the other, but as this year showed us, sometimes we get the clunkers. 31-9 is not exactly a riveting experience for the viewer.

I don’t care if you can’t name a single player on the ice. You should be watching playoff hockey. Who knows — maybe you’ll find a team to be a fan of.