CHELSEY, ON. — The Stanley Cup playoffs are a time of desperation, a time where seemingly anything can happen and a time where the impossible is almost probable. It is the time of the year where it is almost all anyone talks about. In the NHL, only the top sixteen teams make the playoffs and from there, the number is cut in half each round until only one team is left standing. That team gets to hoist the holy grail of trophies: the all-powerful Stanley Cup.
I asked junior hockey player, Benjamin Friend, what he thought of the playoffs and he replied:
“How would I describe the playoffs? The greatest thing in sport. Coming from England we just have leagues and no playoffs in our sports, we play countless games which mean nothing as it’s decided who wins before it’s over. The playoffs are amazing. You play to the end, to win. There’s never a meaningless second in them. They’re exciting and beautiful. Ordinary men do extraordinary things like Alec Martinez for the kings in 2014. I love the playoffs, it’s the best thing in sport in my opinion. Sacrifice, skill, heart, soul and passion all left on the ice. It’s what makes this game special.”
That being said, are the playoffs as much fun when your favourite team doesn’t make it? Personally, they are still a ton of fun to watch and I don’t miss a game, but when it comes to who wins, my heart isn’t dead set hoping that it is one specific team. I just find myself cheering against any rival of favourite team.
Recently, I polled Habs fans to see if they continue to watch and these were the results:
#habs fans, have you continued watching the playoffs without them being in it?
— Caitlyn Golem 🏒⚾🏋️ (@CaitlynGolem) May 7, 2016
It was surprising to see how many people simply lose interest entirely once their favourite team is out. I interviewed a few Habs fans to get more than a basic statistic as to whether or not they are continuing to tune into the playoffs.
Jodel Jimenez shared her position:
“The playoffs are less exciting without the Habs, and I have a whacky theory: how “valid” can the playoffs be without the world’s best goaltender (referring to Carey Price)? I agree that injury is part of sport, but we are being robbed of a relevant and exciting run by a team backstopped by a (Patrick) Roy or (Martin) Brodeur type.”
I then asked her if star players such as Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin do not have the same effect to her as star goaltenders do. Her response was:
“Oh they absolutely do, arguably more. My position – pardon the pun – comes from the fact that I am a Habs fan and love Carey (Price) as a person, but yes stars do have the effect. I have continues to watch here and here and usually default to cheering for a western team but not that Chicago is golfing, I probably won’t get excited again until the finals, and just watch as a hockey fan.”
To get another perspective, I also interviewed Mike Vodeb, who shared that he wasn’t following the playoffs as much as he normally would. The main reason being that the Canadiens aren’t part of it. Normally he would root for a Canadian team but they all fell short as well.
I reasoned with him that there are still many Canadians in the playoffs even if the team doesn’t play out of Canada. He agreed and said that he hopes they do well including favourites like Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza. Mike has turned his interest to the World Championships where he is watching Brendan Gallagher play for Team Canada. He shared that Gallagher is one of his favourite players and that his work ethic is certainly present in the tournament.
Whether you watch intently; tune into the news in the morning to check the scores, or refuse to watch since you’re favourite team is out- there is no denying that the NHL playoffs are something special. Even if the playoffs mean an extended off-season and an abundance of chirping from your friends.
“One of the great rules of hockey is: On the Stanley Cup, all germs are healthy.” – George Vecsey
— Nic Mongeon (@mongeon_62) May 8, 2016
— Adriano (@AdrianoF_15) May 7, 2016