Column: Power play: NHL dominates the NBA postseason
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I watched a little of the NBA playoffs this weekend and a little of the NHL playoffs too.
I came away with one overriding thought. Hockey rules for one reason &045;&160;the power play.
Watching the NBA playoffs you see the usual: Shaq rolling over anyone who gets in his way, Vince Carter shooting 12 of 33 and the Spurs looking like champions.
With the NHL you get the chance to watch a completely different game within the game for two minutes at a time.
Saturday, I turned on the Colorado (my adopted playoff team) and Dallas game.
Only in a power play playoff situation can you get pumped watching a defenseman slowly inch his way in from the blue line waiting to unleash a wicked one-timer that found its way to the back of the net through the five hole.
Based strictly on talent the Avs aren’t as good as the Stars, but if you give one team enough five-on-four or five-on-three opportunities talent starts not to matter.
If a team is able to kill off a power play they can get a huge shift in momentum.
It truly is the great see-saw of the game. Energy and momentum can shift as fast as one of Al McInnis’ one-timers.
Even strength hockey is fun.
Power play hockey is frantic but the best teams find a way to play patient and controlled in a chaotic environment.
You see player after player crashing the net with the goalie frantically trying to secure the puck and avoid any rebound while the offensive players look to start a rugby scrum in front of him.
Whether it is a laser from the point, a perfectly executed tick-tack-toe passing play or a sheer brute force goal power plays are great.
Foul trouble can change the momentum of a basketball game but usually it only changes when a key player is in foul trouble.
In hockey it doesn’t matter if Jaromir Jagr is headed to the box or a rookie playing his first playoff game.
Momentum is going to swing.
The idea that one team can unleash shot after shot with the other basically doing little more than trying to knock the puck down and out of its zone using anything from a stick to an arm or if they are unfortunate their face.
In the NBA you have to wait three quarters before the action really starts to mean anything because as we all know it is the NBA and everyone makes a run.
The NHL gives its viewers two minute shots of adrenaline (especially in these playoffs where the league seems determined to keep the game the same from regular to postseason.)
To the surprise of no one scoring is what most viewers tune in to see when they watch games.
A classic 1-0 battle can be great (at least that is what MLS must believe) but seeing the lamp lit early and often seems to be what the majority favors.
Hockey made several changes this season to bring the fans back.
No more ties, two-line passing rules were modified, equipment was reigned in, scoring was up in most cases, but all I really needed was the postseason and the power play &045;&160;what a wicked combination.