It’s that glorious time of year where even casual hockey fans turn to their televisions or head to arenas to take in the spectacle that is NHL® Stanley Cup Playoff hockey. As any hockey fan will tell you, playoff hockey is leaps and bounds more exciting than regular season hockey, as they players put everything they have into games. The faster, more physical style of play in playoff hockey makes it so much fun to watch and in every game you will see a player do something totally incredible. So make sure you are watching!
Here are some of the parts of playoff hockey we love:
Goalies Getting Hot – Remember Matt Murray last year? The rookie who came out of nowhere to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup? That happens! Which goalie will get hot to help their teams move on this year?
The Hard Hits – To say the playoffs get a little bit more physical is an understatement. Look for many of the NHL’s hardest hitters to steamroll the opposition into the boards during the playoffs. Elusive players will avoid those hits, but some won’t be so lucky.
Playoff Beards – No other sport can pull off the pure awesomeness that is the playoff beard. Professional hockey players almost instinctively sprout during the epic postseason tournament in one of sport’s greatest superstitions; don’t shave until you win the Cup! Those who make it to the Stanley Cup Final will have the best ones working for them, like our friend Joe Thornton here from last season.
Oh Canada – There are five Canadian teams in the playoffs this season and that has practically everyone in Canada beyond happy. You will never see more passionate fans living and dying with every pass of the puck like you will in Canadian arenas during the playoffs. I mean the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the Playoffs! If they do anything of consequence, trust and believe there will be some newborns named Auston and Mitch ten months from now in Toronto.
Opening Wax & Watching The Playoffs – Upper Deck released 2016-17 NHL® ICE in stores TODAY to celebrate the start of the playoffs. Grab a box or two to open while you watch the action tonight!
The Fact That Any Team Can Win – In any other sport a number eight seed really doesn’t have a chance to win it all. Hockey is so competitive and evenly matched that literally any team can win the Cup. Just look back to 2012 when the Los Angeles Kings won it all as an #8 seed? Playoff hockey is great because every team has a chance!
Watching Young Guns Values Soar – When a player creates magic in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help their team advance and win the Cup, the demand for their collectibles will likely rise. The “must have” NHL® rookie cards are Upper Deck’s Young Guns rookie cards and it’s fun to watch with interest on how these investments can flourish with strong playoff performances. You could have scored Kane & Toews Young Guns rookies pretty easily before they rambled off three Stanley Cup victories. Now a days even one of these cards will set you back at least a c-note.
OVERTIME – Nothing is exciting as overtime in playoff hockey. The goalies come to life to make game-saving saves as they are pelted by the opposition while fans sit on pins and needles waiting for their team to light the lamp and end the game!
Hoisting The Cup – It’s one of the greatest traditions and moments in sports. There is no greater feeling for an athlete than to be able to hoist the Stanley Cup after winning the Championship.
Getting Your Portfolio, MVP and Artifacts Rookie Redemptions – NHLPA rules mandate that Upper Deck cannot include rookie cards into products until the players have skated in an official game. Upper Deck will include rookie exchange cards in some early season products to add value and create interest about who those players may be. We wait until January to finalize those checklists so we have the best late call-ups included with the top picks and they are always completed in early April. It is fun to watch fans react excitedly about redemption mail days on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram during the Stanley Cup Playoffs every year. If you are waiting on any of these, you’ll have them soon!
What do you love the most about playoff hockey??? Share with us in the comment section below and you may SCORE an Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness Mail Day from your playoff team!