Why Overtime Playoff Hockey Is The Best Kind Of Sports

Frenzy for the Stanley Cup. posted on

The only thing better than playoff hockey is overtime playoff hockey. The other thing better than that is nothing.

Pool / Reuters

There are absolutely no TV timeouts.

There is no earthly way to know how many overtimes a playoff hockey game can take, and broadcasters apparently don’t want to drag out the disruption to their schedule any more than they have to. To that end, there are no TV commercial breaks in the extra sessions, so by the time someone scores, even if it’s only after a few minutes, your brain and heartrate pretty much feel like the above. (Remember, stay hydrated and breathe.)

Every shot (and save) means something. Means everything!

The usual rhythm of a hockey game goes something like shot, save, goal, shot, save, goal, shot, save. But in overtime playoff hockey, where you can win a game, a series, a title, on a shot that bounces off three people and goes in off the post, the feeling ends up as shot, SAVE, shot, SAVE, MY HEART, shot, SAVE, GOOD LORD, shot, SCOOOOOOOORE, YEEEEEESSSSSSS, HALLELUJAH, THANK JESUS FOR THAT BEARDED CANADIAN MAN’S ABILITY TO HIT A PIECE OF RUBBER WITH A STICK!!!!

It could all end at any time — and you can see the players know it.

This sort of piggybacks on the last one, but when you’re 41 years old and playing in your first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years and you very well may be headed into hockey retirement, the emotions of everything become overwhelming. You have a chance to win the game for your team and you hit the post and everything sucks and all the suck is focused on one moment. This was Jaromir Jagr in Game 2, and you don’t get that in any other sport.

You never know when an overtime is coming.

Obviously you can’t predict beforehand which games will go to OT, which raises the drama of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Any night could be a great one. But even once the games starts it’s hard to tell which ones are heading for a tie. You just never know. Game 2 was a defensive struggle that saw no scoring after the second-period goal above tied it up.

On the flip-side, Game 4 was a manic, offensive explosion that saw 10 goals scored in regulation. A Johnny Boychuk blast from the point tied it up with more than seven minutes to go. Any rational hockey fan could’ve figured that someone might’ve scored again in all that time remaining, but the hockey gods saved the drama for when we needed it most.

Also, Brent Seabrook? With quite literally two dozen other skill players more likely to score and end the game?

Only in overtime playoff hockey.

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