We’re in the midst of the best professional sports postseason in years and the vast majority of sports fans are missing it.
Some have wasted their time watching the mind-numbing action of spring baseball, some still await pro football players and owners to stop arguing over $900 million, and some have inexplicably chosen to watch the NBA Playoffs over hockey.
My question is why? Consider:
- The NHL recently concluded a whirlwind stretch with overtime in 15 of 16 nights from April 19th through May 4th. The NBA hasn’t had consecutive nights with OT in its postseason. In total, the NHL Playoffs have featured 20 overtime games thus far, the NBA, four.
- With the Detroit Red Wings come-from-behind win last night, we’ll see the fifth Game 7 of the NHL Playoffs tomorrow night; the NBA Playoffs have had none.
- Detroit was down three games to none and forced a Game 7, the second team to accomplish that feat this postseason and third in two years. No NBA team has ever done that.
- Much has been made of the miraculous play of Rajon Rondo Sunday night when he dislocated his elbow only to return to action moments later. Ask hockey players if they’re impressed. In the first round, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green attempted to block a two pound piece of frozen rubber with his face after missing the second half of the season with a concussion. And he plays for a notoriously “soft” playoff team.
- The big off-court moral issue in the NBA this week came when LeBron James deemed a reporter’s question “retarded.” Sean Avery of the New York Rangers just released a PSA supporting marriage equality.
- The big villain and title favorite in the NBA is the Miami Heat, which imported stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh this summer to vault itself into title contention. In the NHL, all five remaining teams are reliant on homegrown talent that has played together for years.
- The NHL Playoffs have seen dazzling individual plays like David Legwand’s goal from behind the net, Ryan Kesler’s solo rush, and Nicklas Lidstrom’s lacrosse-style puck swat out of mid-air. NBA games are constantly stopped as players like Paul Pierce goad opponents into cheap fouls so they can score uncontested points from the free throw line.
The full support of the Worldwide Leader might capture the attention of America’s sports fans, but that’s not forthcoming. Those of us lucky enough to recognize how wonderful the NHL Playoffs have been will agree that there’s no way to put magic into words.
You have to experience it firsthand to recognize it, and Game 7 Thursday night between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings is a good place to start.