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Point/Counterpoint: Which professional league playoffs is better?

By Dan Madigan & Elan DeCarlo
On April 23, 2014

Dan: Shortly after March Madness subsides more excitement begins, as both the NBA and NHL have wrapped up their 82 game seasons and their respective playoffs have began. Although the NBA may be more popular, there is nothing more exciting than the NHL playoffs. The NHL playoffs feature excitement in every game, and their overtime rules result in some of the most spectacular endings in any professional sport. There is a certain intensity and feel to playoff hockey that is simply unmatched by any other sport.
Elan: We hear the same argument every spring: nothing beats the NHL playoffs. I'm here to prove that wrong. Ask the average sports fan to name the last five Stanley Cup champions-I guarantee you stump them. Hockey-while fun to watch-has no relevancy on the general sporting world. The NBA playoffs, however, are a whole different ballgame and a far superior event.
Dan: Although the NBA is more popular and mainstream, it is difficult to say that it is the better event. The best example of this is overtime in the NHL playoffs. The sudden death nature of overtime makes every shot and turnover critical to the outcome of the game. The intensity rises and the crowd continually buzzes with excitement. There is no bigger rush than watching your team win in overtime like the Bruins did against the Maple Leafs last year in one of the greatest comebacks of all time.
Elan: If we're using recent examples, I challenge you to pick a more exciting, dramatic and meaningful moment than Game 6 of last year's NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs were less than 30 seconds away from winning their fifth title in 15 seasons, when LeBron James, Ray Allen and the Miami Heat pulled the rug out from under them to force a Game 7. That's why I love the NBA playoffs. It's where the greatest players in the league make their biggest impact and watch their legend grow. In the NHL, the randomness many times lends itself to the hottest team winning, not necessarily the best.
Dan:Although the Spurs and Heat series was exciting, it can't match the excitement of the NHL from start to finish. Every game in every round is exciting, unlike the NBA where the first round games are predictable and uneventful. The NHL playoffs also feature so many stars from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, such as gold medalist Sydney Crosby, Russia's Pavel Datsyuk and the American hero TJ Oshie. These worldwide stars give the NHL playoffs fans from all over the world to witness truly great match up.

Elan: There's something about springtime basketball that's special. Some of the great moments in sports history have been made during the NBA playoffs. Jordan's Last Shot against the Jazz, Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird for a decade-the memories span history. The NBA playoffs are billed with the tagline "40 Games in 40 Nights." The sheer amount of games leads to excitement, chaos and glory. For the first time, it will end with new commissioner Adam Silver handing the Larry O'Brien Trophy to the champion, and Bill Russell, the game's greatest champion, the Most Valuable Player award. I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

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