The Joy of Playoff Hockey


By Kevin Galasso, Editor

Although I am a major fan of hockey and it is my favorite sport, before a month ago, I had never been to an NHL game. This was for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t get into hockey until a couple of years ago, thanks to watching Uconn Hockey, and two, I follow the Pittsburg Penguins. I know that sounds odd, but since we live in a state that doesn’t have a team, (still wish the Whalers were here) I was free to choose whatever team I wanted. I gravitated towards Pittsburgh because they were the first team I saw and I found Sidney Crosby to be really cool. Since then I have followed the Penguins and have loved players like Matt Murray and Phil Kessel.

Now fast forward to one month ago. I was finally able to go to my first NHL game. Luckily for me, this was the first round of the playoffs between the Penguins and the New York Islanders. My Dad being an Islanders fan, decided to get tickets to game one which was in Long Island. I was pumped, but I knew it was going to be an interesting time, as I was going into enemy territory. Nevertheless, I was super excited, and I couldn’t wait to go.

I’m going to be honest here, playoff hockey is the best sports competition. There is nothing else that can compare to it. When I got to Long Island, and walked into Nassau Coliseum, it was crazy. There were fans everywhere, all cheering as loud as they could. Meanwhile, I was trying to avoid showing support for the Penguins as I knew that I wouldn’t look favorable to all the Islanders fans. But that support is one of the reasons why I think playoff hockey is the best.

Every game that I have seen this season for the playoffs, whether on tv or in person, there has always been a loyal fan base that has come to support and root for their team. Even when a team was one game away from losing the series, if the game was at home, then you can be sure that the fans will be there. Using my example of the Islanders/Penguins game, there were so many Islanders fans and most of them were older fans. They grew up in the Golden Age of the Islanders and have remained loyal even when the team had their hardships.

Another reason why playoff hockey is the best is the intensity. There have been so many close games so far and they have all been intense. During my game, the Islanders had a 2-0 lead by the end of the 1st, but the Penguins were able to tie it up before the 3rd period. This eventually lead to a 3-3 tie at the end of the third so there had to be overtime. Throughout that whole game, I was on the edge of my seat, and I was glad as it made my first NHL experience a great time.

While it might have been a great game, the Penguins sadly lost in overtime and they eventually got swept by the Islanders 4-0 in the series. While I am sad about my team, (and their nonexistent defense) this hasn’t ruined the playoffs for me as there has been so many great moments. The President’s trophy winner Tampa Bay Lightning being beaten by the Columbus Blue Jackets who had never won a playoff series (still can’t believe how much Tampa Bay choked). Vegas Golden Knights majorly choking the series to the San Jose Sharks. And my personal favorite, the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals losing the series to the Carolina Hurricanes (formerly the Hartford Whalers). This has been the craziest playoff series in a while and it has been so great. Unlike other sports *cough NBA cough* where it seems that the same teams are always in the finals, none of the top seeds are still in. It’s so refreshing to see teams that haven’t made the playoffs in years, be given a chance to shine. I hope that this article has shown the glory of playoff hockey, and if you’ll excuse me, if have to continue watching the games.

Also since my team is out, I am rooting for the Carolina Hurricanes to win.