Mentz’s Minute: NHL playoff hockey: Doesn’t get much better

April 19th, 2012

The month of April, much like March, is truly one of the best months of the year for those who are addicted to the great world of sports. Finding myself in that category, there’s a few reasons as to why the month of April is one hell of a month for sports entertainment. Baseball season is back and the NBA playoffs are right around the corner, but the true icing on the cake is the fact that NHL playoff hockey has begun, and to be honest, it doesn’t get much better than this.

As someone who has always focused his attention on the NBA, MLB and NFL, I’ve been neglecting the sport of hockey for years like a dog that isn’t yet house trained. I only began watching the sport of hockey at the beginning of this NHL season. Why? I was convinced that the NBA wouldn’t have a season due to the lockout, so I figured I needed to get my sports fix somehow. As a native of Rochester, I’ve always supported the Buffalo Sabres, but never followed the team closely. So as I started paying more attention to the Sabres and the NHL as a whole, I have to admit, this hockey thing is growing on me by the day. Even though the Sabres aren’t in the NHL playoffs this year, I can’t say that’s really affected how much hockey I’ve been watching lately.

Do me a favor: Turn on the television tonight and watch 10 minutes of an NHL playoff game. You’ll notice the intensity, the passion, the talent on the ice and lastly, you’ll notice the physicality of the sport, to say the least. The NHL is considered the fourth sport in America behind the “Big Three” (NFL/MLB/NBA), but so far, the NHL playoffs have been nothing short of a No. 1 sport in my eyes.

Although I’m just a hockey neophyte, I’ve already seen first-hand why most of my friends have been obsessed with this sport for years. The NHL regular season is one thing, but the NHL playoffs are a whole different element. When it comes to playoff hockey in the NHL, you won’t find any players on the ice who are giving less than 110 percent, and that’s one reason that I respect the league.

Even if you don’t know the difference between a red line and a blue line on the ice, or if you know nothing about the sport of hockey at all, give it a chance. The best type of hockey is playoff hockey, and as we inch closer and closer to the Stanley Cup finals in a few weeks, there’s no better time than now to get hooked on the sport that doesn’t get enough due credit in America.

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