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2011 NHL Playoffs: 5 Reasons Every Sports Fan Should Watch Stanley Cup Finals

Ally WilliamsCorrespondent IJune 1, 2011

2011 NHL Playoffs: 5 Reasons Every Sports Fan Should Watch Stanley Cup Finals

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    SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 20:  Henrik Sedin #33, Daniel Sedin #22 and Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrate Burrow's third period goal in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs a
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    During the NHL regular season, sports fans may choose to watch other sporting events. The NFL is still going on as the NHL season begins, and as it ends, basketball is heading toward its own postseason and baseball is starting up again.

    The NHL playoffs are an entirely different story, though. The excitement and thrill of each game—seriously, each game—is too much to miss.

    Sports fans, you should find Versus on your cable setup (if you don't watch hockey regularly, chances are you have no idea where that channel is.) The Stanley Cup Finals are about to begin, and you need to watch the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins fight till the end.

The Game Isn’t over Until the Last Buzzer…Seriously

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 24:   Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks deflects the puck into the net for a goal to tie the game at 2-2 with less than 14 seconds left in the third period past goaltender Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks in Game Five
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    In the hockey world, anything is possible.

    In Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, the San Jose Sharks were up by one goal with thirteen seconds left.

    Thirteen seconds.

    It was at that point when Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks sent a puck past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi to send the game into overtime. The Canucks ended up winning in the second overtime period, sending Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 17 years.

    What I’m trying to say here, is that it’s impossible to tell what team is going to win until the game is over.

    Being able to intensely focus on a game the whole way through tends to be easy for many sports fans, but when the game has suspense the entire time, it’s way too exciting for someone to pass up.

The Trophy

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 09: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks carries the Stanley Cup trophy across the ice in a ceremony before the Blackhawks season home opening game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on October 9, 2010 in Chicago,
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Stanley Cup is one of the most revered and respected trophies of all sports.

    There isn't a new trophy created for each new champion: This trophy gets passed on and has been through the hands of all of the greats.

    The Cup has the names of all of the players, coaches, management, and staff etched into it, and those who find themselves hoisting it become a part of history. The Cup is something that sports fans respect.

    To be able to watch the games to see which names will be written on the trophy is like being a part of the history itself.

The Emotion

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    TAMPA, FL - MAY 03: Fans show their apprecaition to goaltender Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in his game against the Washington Capitals  in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at St Pet
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Those who have gone to a hockey game know the atmosphere created by hockey fans. Those who have been to a hockey game during the playoffs probably still haven’t gotten the ring of the rink out of their ears.

    The best thing about the hockey atmosphere, though, is that you don’t need to be at the game to feel the adrenaline. You can hear the cheers when the announcers are talking, and you can see the fans after every call. Watching the entire arena go from a content buzz to jumping up in unison after a goal can be one of the single most exciting moments you could experience as a sports fan.

    If you can’t be there in person, watching it on television will be enough to get an entire sports bar cheering.

The Rawness

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    BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 09:  Johnny Boychuk #55 of the Boston Bruins fights with Jaroslav Spacek #6 of the Montreal Canadiens is Shawn Thornton #22 of the Bruins and Brian Gionta #21 of the Canadiens fight on February 9, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Mas
    Elsa/Getty Images

    What other sport has constant brawls and fighting calls? Even after a player gets sent to the penalty box for roughing, he’s right back out there in the midst of it a few minutes later.

    During the Finals, keep an eye out for the Bruins’ Shawn Thornton. He’s their unofficial enforcer, meaning if someone hits one of his teammates, chances are, Thornton will respond physically.

    Besides that, hits are a regular in games. Guys bash into each other to get to the puck, and are willing to drop their gloves if the occasion calls for it.

    No other sport allows such raw emotion, and that adds to the excitement of hockey games. During the Stanley Cup playoffs, this emotion is multiplied by infinity. Guys will be flying across the ice, throwing fists, and doing whatever they can to make sure their team is the one with the trophy in the end.

It Isn't the NBA

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: LeBron James #6 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat sit on the bench during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    There are other playoffs happening right now, and I respect that.

    However, in the NHL, there are no all-stars that get breaks on calls.

    If a player gets called for a foul, he doesn’t argue for three minutes or stare down the referee, he goes to the penalty box and the game gets even more intense.

    Hockey teams don’t call fifty timeouts at the end of the game to stretch 10 seconds into 15 minutes, filled with the same commercial about life insurance that was funny the first five times.

    This is an intense, fight-till-the-end sport that never gets boring. The plays never slow down and in the sports world that’s a great thing when you can watch guys fight, celebrate, and play brilliantly for a couple of straight hours.

    Watch the Stanley Cup Finals. Then you can cool down with the Mavs and Heat.

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