Category Archives: Hockey

10 reasons why the Stanley Cup playoffs are better than the NBA playoffs


Epoole88 artwork. Very talented.

Thank goodness my town has a hockey bar now where I don’t have to argue with the bartenders to turn switch the basketball game that no one is watching to the Stanley Cup playoff game.

My favourite era of hockey was from the 90s to the early 2000s, despite the poor scoring of the time. This was when I lived in the San Juans, and you could get all the games from CBC. They showed two games every Saturday (usually Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto in the late afternoon, then Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary at night). Then CBC just showed Stanley Cup playoff games constantly for two months from mid-April to mid-June.

I also used to love the hockey commercials on CBC. My favourite will always be the “Die Maple Leafs! Die!” Nike commercial.

Stanley Cup Finals - Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six

I kind of fell out of love with NBA basketball around the same time. I used to love the NBA of the 80s — the absolute epic, legendary battles between the Celtics and the Lakers and the other teams lying in wait — the 76ers, Pistons and Bulls. Each team had their own style and identity uniquely theirs. I think basketball has lost that, all the teams seem to run the same offences today. I will probably still watch some of the NBA Finals, especially if Golden State gets in. I’m sick of the Spurs.

Capitals Time Out
One timeout a game. ONE!

What specifically turned me off of basketball was the Western Conference finals one year in the ’90s between the Lakers and Kings. In Game 7, the refs called blocking foul after blocking foul on Sacramento players as they literally stood there holding their hands up and Shaq traveled and jumped into them. Shaq got away with traveling and charging on virtually every play, but because he was Shaq, the refs called it the other way.

I’m not a believer in conspiracy theories, I’m seriously not, but that is a case where I cannot shake the suspicion that the NBA preferred to have a giant market like L.A. in the NBA Finals rather than a tiny market like Sacramento. That was what finally soured me on the NBA. The refs have too much power to control the flow and outcome of the game. I think more in basketball than any other sport. Anyway, I digress. I’m talking about why I soured on the NBA, not about why I think hockey is better. Here are my top 10 reasons why the Stanley Cup Playoffs are better than the NBA playoffs:

Bill Walton 2
There is no Bill Walton in hockey.

1) My favourite reason. Hockey teams are allowed ONE timeout. ONE. How many do you get in basketball. Like 10? The last two minutes of a basketball game take 20 minutes sometimes, I swear.


2) No Bill Walton. No Joe Morgan or Rick Sutcliffe or Tim McCarver for that matter. But, mostly, no Bill Walton.

3) The best, most beautiful trophy in sport. What does the NBA have? A gold-plated basketball.

4) Playoff beards!

5) The terminology:

“Top shelf!”

“Off the post!” ScreenShot2012-05-28at8.24.39PM_crop_north

“Five hole!”


“Off the blocker!”

6) The names! Every unpronounceable, unspellable name from Tarasenko to Pacioretty to Silfverberg to Zuccarello.


7) Every team has a shorter nickname than its official nickname. Penguins = Pens. Senators = Sens. Canadiens = Habs. Predators = Preds. Blackhawks = Hawks. Lightning = Bolts. Wild = …. well, the Wild are one of the freak teams.

8) Hockey wounds. Stitches. Right back on the ice.

9) The sounds! The puck off the post, the puck hitting the stick on a sharp pass, the thud on the boards during a massive collision, the goal horn.

10) No Toronto yet again. That’s a cherry on top.

toronto maple leafs losers

toronto losers

Fighting and violence in hockey is going down, not up

Dave SchultzOne thing that annoys me is when people claims they hate hockey because it is getting more violent every year and there are more fights every year.

With a whole family that plays hockey that bothers me. Because it simply isn’t true. In fact, the opposite is true. The problem is ESPN and HP and Youtube that focus on nothing but hockey fights. When that’s all people see of hockey, they assume that’s all there is. HuffPost is TERRIBLE for doing this!

It really chapped my hide yesterday that I tried to make this point on HP yesterday, but for some reason, HP wouldn’t let me.

Here are the FACTS. In the 1970s, there was an average of more than 1 fight every hockey game (and yes, there actually are people who keep track of this stuff). This year, there is an average of 0.57 fights per game, so there is actually HALF as many fights in hockey today as there was 35 years ago.

A website called has actually been tracking fighting in hockey for 10 years. In the 2001-2002 season, there were 803 fights in the NHL, for an average of .65 fights a game. In 2003-2004, there were 789 fights, for an average of .64 fights per game. This year, the league is on pace for 693 fights, a decrease of 12 percent from seven years ago.

Moreover, the all-time single season leader in penalty minutes is Dave Schultz, part of the infamous Broad Street Bullies of Philadelphia. Schultz had 472 penalty minutes in 1974-75, which was really the low point for violence in the NHL. Since the 2000 season, the closest anyone has come to that is Peter Worrell, who had 354 penalty minutes in 2001-2002 … that puts him 21st all-time for most penalty minutes in a season. Last season, the league leader was Zenon Konopka of the New York Islanders, who had 265 penalty minutes, barely half what Dave Schultz accumulated in 1974-75.


What this means is that the era of the goons is fading out. The rules have been changed to give more emphasis on speed and skill. Sure, there’s some tough guys in the league, and the fighting will always play a role (honestly, there is a strategy to it. Don’t touch our stars or else you’ll pay, basically.) There are just more fighting highlights on round-the-clock sports TV and Internet. And because people can’t figure out that “Slap Shot” was satire (not only satire, but 35-year-old satire.). And honestly, if you pay attention, you notice players rarely get hurt fighting. They usually scrap for half a minute, then one of them falls down and a referee steps in and stops it. Most of the time, it’s FUNNY. It’s like slapstick. Most players get hurt when they crash into the boards or they get hit by an errant stick or puck.

Garr. I don’t know why HuffPost wouldn’t let me make this point yesterday.

Do you have Avs fever yet? And if not, why not?

Brandon Yip

Hah, watch. Next week, they’ll lose three in a row cuz of my post.

We have a rule in our house that you can only watch *TWO* hockey matches every week, so at least one every week is the Colorado Avalanche.

What a fun, spunky team they are to watch. They are ridiculously young, I think their average age is maybe 24 or 25, almost everyone on the team is a rookie, second-year or third-year player, and yet they are NO. 1 IN THE ENTIRE NHL in goals scored. They have scored 112 goals in 31 games, which mean they are on pace for 300 goals.

Paul Stastny

And with this very young team, they are 17-10-4, they have won four in a row, they are tied for first place in the Northwest Division with 38 points. Hockey is so weird. In the Western Conference, there are only two teams with losing records — there are 13 teams with winning records! How is that possible? It’s because of the dreaded “three-point” games, where no one loses. 🙂 In a three-point game, one team gets a 2-point win, while the other team doesn’t get a loss, it gets a single point for losing in overtime or a shootout. (If you think this is complicated, hockey for a while actually had four columns — wins, losses, overtime losses and ties. That was REALLY impossible to keep track of!)

Craig Anderson

So what does that mean? Almost every team in the NHL is a winner! 😀 It also means you have to have an incredibly good won-loss record to make one of the 8 playoff spots in the West. You could go 45-30-7 and miss the playoffs the way things are going (Apparently, back in the old days, when you had 21 teams and 16 playoff spots, you could have a pretty bad won-loss record and make the postseason. Not so anymore.). So, in the West, you have 12 teams that have between 33 and 43 points. The Avs are currently tied for second in the conference. If they lose their next game, they could drop all the way down to sixth. If they lose two games in a row, they could drop all the way down to 10th. It’s crazy. And exciting. Every game counts!

Chris Stewart

Hardly any of their players are famous. Milan Hejduk (pronounced like “Hayduke Lives”) is fairly well known. He is their one old veteran who was on the team when they won the Stanley Cup in 2001, but he has hardly played lately Chris Stewart is a rising superstar and was on pace to score 50 or 60 goals, but he broke his hand — but the team hasn’t slowed down. Their best players are Paul Stastny (son of Hall-of-Famer Peter Stastny), who has a big missing tooth and is either a Czech or an American, depending on who he wants to play for in the Olympics :lol:; Thomas Fleishmann, who scored a hat trick last night, Brandon Yip (I love his name!), David Jones and Matt Duchene. One of their better players, Peter Mueller, hasn’t played a single game all year and may not play for them at all this year because of a concussion he suffered in preseason. None of these guys are very famous, but they are leading the entire NHL in goals scored. Their goalie is Craig Anderson, an American who backed up Ryan Miller in the 2010 Olympics. Even he was hurt pretty bad and missed about a month, but that hasn’t stopped the Avs.

They will be fun to watch all year and it should be a roller coaster ride.