As Boston sports fans, I think that we have become spoiled with the success that the teams have had over the past decade. The Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots have all had impressive seasons. I was disappointed when the Bruins were eliminated last week, however, I still think that there are some great reasons to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs.
First, is there a greater story in all of sports than the Vegas Golden Knights? The Celtics are a pretty great story and I would argue that Brad Stevens is currently one of the best coaches in professional sports, but what Vegas is doing is unprecedented.
On the East coast, I’m not sure that people fully grasp what the Golden Knights have accomplished this season. An expansion team, they are what some would call a team of castoffs. They are made up of players that their former teams left unprotected, as each team was only allowed to protect a certain number of players at each position.
The team started the season 3-0, the best start ever by an expansion team. Vegas went on to win eight of its first nine games. The Golden Knights won the Pacific Division title, becoming the first expansion team in any of the four major sports leagues to win its division in its inaugural season. The team swept the L.A Kings in the first-round of the playoffs and beat San Jose in six games in the second round. The Golden Knights will play the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference finals.
The second reason is that Alexander Ovechkin is one of the greatest hockey players in modern history. I have great admiration for players who spend their entire careers with one team. Ovi, as he is affectionately nicknamed, has played for the Washington Capitals for 13 seasons. He is arguably one of the greatest players who has yet to win a Stanley Cup. He tied Bobby Hull this season when he led the NHL in goals scored for the seventh time in his career.
My final reason is that the Stanley Cup playoffs are the best playoffs in sports. The passion and drive are unmatched. Guys play with broken bones and torn ligaments for the chance to lift the Cup. I’ve always thought that if I could write a sports research paper it would be on the history of the Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy awarded in professional sports. Once a player wins the Stanley Cup, their name is engraved on the trophy. There is nothing like a player lifting the Stanley Cup over their head and skating around the ice after winning the series. I’ve watched players I know hoist the cup, and I don’t think that I had dry eyes watching any of them.
Despite the fact that the Bruins are out, along with the Red Wings and Canucks, who I follow closely, I’m still going to be following the playoffs. There is nothing like the Stanley Cup playoffs.