Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Parity" or "Competitive Balance" = Game Seven

When I had the pleasure of speaking with Gary Bettman, I asked about the "parity" the CBA had cultivated in the League. He quickly corrected me and called it "Competitive Balance." It sounded so much more eloquent. But the outcome is still the same.

Call it a level playing field, call it whatever you want. I call it what has given us a prolonged Stanley Cup playoff series as three match-ups area heading into a game 7 in order to decide who moves on.

As fans, this is the best possible scenario. It's "edge of your seat" action every game. It also keeps hockey on the TV and in the media with larger coverage as the match-ups become more intense.

The only draw back I can see of extended playoff series are for the teams that actually play them. For the fans, the hardest part is just staying awake long enough to watch the late night game, especially when it goes into overtime. For the players, they have to PLAY that highly physical game.... well into overtime.

Do the extended series destroy a teams chances of actually making it to the final round? Will they have anything left in the tank to get past yet another opponent who may have had to extend less energy and spill less blood?

So while we await the final game of the long awaited match-up between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, we ponder the fates of four other playoff teams. Only the Blackhawks and Vancouver ended their series in six, with the Hawks tossing the last Canadian team out of the Stanley Cup race.

The eight seeded Anaheim Ducks are giving the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings fits as they stand on the doorstep of a one game elimination on Thursday. Once again, the NHL is the only league where a lower seed team can and does knock off the higher. Anything can happen in this game.

The only certainty for this year is that the Stanley Cup will once again be won by a US team. That fact doesn't bode well for NHL ratings in Canada, even though they claim ownership of the game.

The final outcome of this round will only make the next round that much more interesting. Yes, the Stanley Cup playoffs are a grueling time of the year for the athletes who endure it. For the fans, the grueling part is keeping up all the game story lines. We're exhausted.

1 comment:

~me said...

OH my god-- I am on HOCKEY overload...need COffee...(sure you dont grow your own beans...hahaha)

well, when we made our picks for the series...i picked chicago-washington-anaheim-boston and he picked vancouver-pit-detroit-boston i need for washington to win 7 i think takes the prolonged match-ups and makes it a do or die situation and thats when the game plan changes to who's got it and who doesn't-