Stanley Cup Playoffs: 20 Reasons Why the NHL Postseason Is Better Than the NBA

April WeinerCorrespondent IMay 11, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs: 20 Reasons Why the NHL Postseason Is Better Than the NBA

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    SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 08:  The San Jose Sharks skate on to the ice for their game against the Detroit Red Wings in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 8, 2011 in San Jose, California.
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Of all the four major sports in North America, the NBA and NHL have the most in common.

    They each play 82 games, almost half what the MLB plays and way more than the NFL plays. Their seasons run around the same time. Their playoffs run at the same time and they are similarly set up: four rounds, each round is a best of seven series.

    The similarities stop there. No offense to the NBA, but the NHL playoffs are just way better.

    Here’s why.

20. The Glass

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    If basketball players are upset with fans, they can run right up into the stands. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of a seven-foot athlete having that much access to me.

    How many hockey games would you go to if Shawn Thornton could just come right up into the bleachers to respond to your sign about him?

    The glass serves as a buffer for fan safety. Although, sometimes, that doesn’t have an effect (John Tortorella, we’re looking at you).

    Plus, the glass serves as an instrument to bang against in support of your team.

19. No Kardashians

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  TV personality Khloe Kardashian talks on the phone before Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on May 4, 2011 in Los Ang
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Not yet, at least.

    Although there are two younger sisters that could veer away from basketball and football players to choose a hockey player...

    For now though, our Stanley Cup Playoffs remain Kardashian-free.

18. The World Is Watching

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    RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 29:  (L-R) Henrik Lundqvist #30 of New York Rangers, Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks, Loui Eriksson #21 of the Dallas Stars, Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings, Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks, Oliver Ek
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Both the NHL and NBA have international players, but the NHL features more by far.

    The majority of players come from North America, but each team typically also has players from a combination of: Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, etc.

    Those countries are following their countrymen playing in North America, meaning the world is invested.

    It’s interesting to think about.

17. Easier to Find

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    DETROIT - MAY 10: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates a 3-1 victory with teammates over the San Jose Sharks in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 10, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena in De
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    NHL playoff games are found on VS and sometimes NHL Network, if they will begrudgingly give up two of about 17 daily showings of NHL On the Fly to broadcast a game, and NBC, who occasionally gets a weekend afternoon game.

    The NBA games are on every channel at least once it seems. One has to follow the schedule closely to know which channel their game will be on.

    It seems like it would be confusing.

16. Penalty Box

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    Free throws: lame.

    Penalty box: grown-up hockey version of the timeout. Sit in a box by yourself and think about what you’ve done.

    Plus, the offending player is then surrounded by his fans or opposing fans.

    Or in Mike Fisher’s case this playoffs, Green Men holding a cardboard cutout of his wife in an enemy jersey.

15. Team-Centered Versus Player-Centered

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a 98-92 loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dal
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The NBA is all about its stars.

    Sure, the NHL has a way of over-promoting some of their stars, but once the playoffs arrive and those teams are inevitably eliminated, fans are treated to team hockey.

14. Playoff Overtime

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Alexandre Burrows #14 (right) of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks after scoring the game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the overtime period in Game Seven of t
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Sure it sucks if your team is going into overtime because its so stressful, but it usually makes a great game even better.

    In the NBA Playoffs, overtime periods are five minutes long. In regular season hockey, it is the same, along with being 4-on-4, instead of 5-on-5.

    In the playoffs on the other hand, the game just goes into a 20-minute overtime period, just like another regular period, except that it is sudden death.

    It can even go into double and triple OT, making it equivalent to two whole games.

13. Goaltenders

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    TAMPA, FL - MAY 04: Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the St Pete Times Forum on May 4, 2011 in Tampa, Florida
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    In hockey, players have to get around goaltenders to score.

    In basketball, players just have to have good aim and be able to throw over their opponent's head.

    Hockey players can shoot the puck around an opponent, but there’s still a goaltender it has to get through to get in the net.

    Because of this, goalies are vital, especially in the playoffs.

12. Sportsmanship

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26:  Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers shakes hands with Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres after the Flyers defeated the Sabres 5 to 2 in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    At the end of each NHL playoff game, the players have to line up and shake hands.

    Even after all the tension and trash-talking in a series, the players all line up for the handshake line.

    It promotes good sportsmanship.

11. Playoff System

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks catches the puck after amking a save against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley C
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    In the NBA playoff system, they have it set up so that everyone knows if one team wins a series, they'll play the winner of another series.

    Whereas in the NHL, the highest remaining seeded team plays the lowest remaining seed. 

    It can add suspense, especially if a series goes into a Game 7, as we were treated to this postseason.

10. Scoring

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    DETROIT - MAY 4: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck against the San Jose Sharks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 4, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    In basketball, teams score so quickly, that virtually no game is ever out of reach.

    Therefore, basketball is unnecessary to watch until the last few minutes. You’ll never turn on a basketball game and go, “Oh I wish I’d had this on earlier to see Kobe get that two-pointer!” because guess what, he does it about 100 times a game.

    Whereas Pavel Datsyuk will only score that beautiful deke…oh bad example because Datsyuk will do that again.

    But you’ll also want to watch them again and again. They never get old.

9. Playoff Fights

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    Fighting in general is a reason why hockey is better than any other sport.

    However, in the playoffs, teams are generally trying to stay out of the penalty box, so they really don’t fight that much.

    Then when it does happen, it is that much more awesome.

8. Crazy Hockey Fans

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    GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 16:  Sami Lepisto #18 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates past an octopus thrown onto the ice in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Hockey fans are just better than basketball fans. There’s no one like them really.

    The Vancouver Green Men, the octopus-throwing tradition in Detroit...we could go on all day.

7. The Stanley Cup

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    PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after teammate Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Sta
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in all of sports.

    Players who win get their name engraved on the Cup, as well as getting a whole day with it.

    That’s unlike any other sport and makes it really cool.

6. Playoff Beards

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 30:  Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates a Flyers goal against the Boston Bruins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 30, 2
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Playoff beards are fun for two reasons: (1) some players have really awesome ones and (2) some players can’t grow anything due to “Baby-face Syndrome,” which sadly affects about two in 23 hockey players.*

    It also provides a great excuse if you’re too lazy to shave. When you go into work and your boss asks why you look like such a slob, just say you’re a loyal fan and cannot shave for fear the team will lose.

    As long as you live in the same city as your team, you should be good on that front.

    *Disclaimer: Not intended to be a factual statement

5. Pavel Datsyuk

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    This one needs no explanation, but I have provided a video, in case you live under a rock.

4. Different Teams

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    MIAMI, FL - MARCH 10:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat shoots over Pau Gasol #16 of  the Los Angeles Lakers  during a game at American Airlines Arena on March 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    In the NHL playoffs, it is not just between a few teams. With the exception of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 playoffs, we've seen different opponents in the SCF.

    In the NBA, there is a good chance that the Finals will be either the Heat versus someone, the Lakers versus someone or the Heat versus the Lakers.

    You watch one NBA Playoffs, you’ve seen them all. Just check on the scores and you've experienced it, while gaining extra time to spend with your family or watching something else, like hockey.

    Or hopefully, both. Most parents want a better life for their children than they had, so please spare them basketball and give them hockey. They’ll thank you one day.  

3. Hockey Involves More Skill

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 7: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks checks Blake Geoffrion #5 of the Nashville Predators into the end boards during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Basketball players run back and forth across a court and shoot a ball at a net.

    Hockey players have to master skating, puck-handling and the ability to stay on their feet/ recover quickly from checks.

    No question which game requires more skill.

2. Schedule

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    TAMPA, FL - MAY 04: Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the save on Mike Knuble #22 of the Washington Capitals as Eric Brewer #2 assists him in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    NBA games usually have at least two days in between games. This year, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat had four whole days off between games.

    You won't see that in hockey. Hockey has one, maybe not even that, depending on event schedules at the arenas.

     And no one can argue that in an oftentimes (particularly in playoffs) brutal sport like hockey, hockey players would be the only ones needing two days between games.

    Yet hockey players are tough enough to suck it up and play through it.

    Which brings me to my next point...

1. Physicality

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 06:  Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins stops a shot as Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers falls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 6, 2011 in Boston,
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Hockey is better than basketball due to pure physicality of the sport.

    The game becomes even more physical in the playoffs, making it the most entertaining sport to watch.