It ain’t just Charles Barclay that’s happy for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fans are tuning in in big numbers.
Lifelong fans will already know that the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are lit. It’s nothing new to us. It’s not just good hockey, it’s competitive. Where, so long as your in, you have a chance at winning the ultimate prize.
We saw it a few years back when the Los Angeles Kings won their first cup in franchise history in while ranking as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They took out the President’s trophy
They took out the President’s trophy winning Vancouver Canucks in five games. Then the St. Louis blues, ranked second in the east, and finally the Arizona Coyotes in the conference finals. In the NHL Stanley Cup finals, they dispatched the New Jersey Devils in six games. Both the Devils and the Kings were lower ranked teams.
And we’re seeing it this season again with the Nashville Predators. A 16th ranked team making their first trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs in franchise history.
On their trip to the finals, they swept the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks in four games, took out the St Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks. All teams with much better regular seasons than the Predators.
NBA Ain’t Got Squat, Sorta
Jump to the NBA where two teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Golden State Warriors are setting records for the number of consecutive wins in a playoff run.
With their first loss in the postseason against the Celtic, the Cavs are officially out as record setters, even though they’ve gone 11-1 so far this postseason. The Warriors remain unbeaten with a 12-0 record through three rounds.
And it’s not just that either team remain unbeaten (or as close to it as possible for Cleveland – that’s got to be eating Lebron up on the inside). They’re destroying the opposition.
In Cleveland’s first game in the third round, they beat Boston 130-89. A 41 point spread in the Eastern Conference Finals. A few nights before the Warriors beat the Spurs 136-100 in the Western Conference Finals.
The two powerhouse teams in the league are just mopping the floor with everyone else. And it’s been that way for years. These two teams were in the finals last season. In fact, Lebron James has been to the finals for the past five seasons, and maybe a sixth.
Unfortunately, people keep tuning in, for some reason. On May 19th the NBA received a 2.0 rating while the NHL a 0.6. That’s still a good number for the NHL, considering how poorly last season’s playoffs were consumed.
Fourth in Line
The NHL is very much a fourth tier sport in North America. The NFL, MLB, and NBA all outrank the NHL. But with playoff formats like these, where competitiveness is creating compelling and captivating story lines like the Nashville Predators there’s hope.
The NHL still needs personalities to bring people into the grueling 82 game schedule. But narrative rich playoffs the NHL is heading in the right direction.