Want to know why hockey is the most brutal sport? Go watch a game seven in overtime and tell me you’ve ever experienced a more gut-wrenching, hear-pounding situation for a longer time. The Bruins-Hurricanes Game 7 last night ended regulation at 2-2 and headed to overtime where a next-goal-wins period ensued.
That is brutal. For every minute during that time, the teams fought for every loose puck, diving and throwing themselves, but nothing would go in. The fans stand and cheer the entire time, but at every turnover or bouncing puck, a silence falls over the arena at the chance of one team winning. Every shot draws shrieks from every fan in attendance and when a Bruins’ shot just missed, the place with fall back, cringing at a miss opportunity.
Now, in other sports there are certainly situations where this happens. Baseball has that 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth. Football has that final second 45-yard field goal or the Hail Mary bomb. Basketball has the game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds left. Each one of those situations lasts at most for 1 minute. It is basically one gut-wrenching play to decide it all.
Hockey overtime is similar except that feeling lasts the entire time. From the drop of the puck in overtime until the game-winning goal, no one can relax for a moment. There aren’t even timeouts! It is 30 minutes of holding your breath and stomachs in knots. There is absolutely nothing tougher in sports to watch.
In the end, Carolina sent the Bruins’ fans home crying with goal near the end of the first overtime. Silence overwhelmed the Garden as people stared on in disbelief. In the end, it came on a tough rebound and just an overall lucky play. That’s generally what hockey comes down to. The bounce of the puck. That’s why any team can win on any night. There is more luck in hockey than in every other sport. That is why the number 4 and number 6 seeds are in the Eastern Conference Finals and the top seed overall San Jose was beaten in the first round.
That’s also why the hockey playoffs are so much better than the NBA playoffs. The parity across hockey is amazing, but even more amazing is the action. The games are fast-paced and hard-hitting. They are rough, tough, but amazingly skilled at the same time. If you can go watch a hockey playoff game and really tell me you enjoy watching the timeout-and-foul filled NBA games, that will shock me. It isn’t even up for debate.
The NHL Playoffs are better than the NBA Playoffs.