Hockey: it isn’t easy and it is not supposed to be. It is a game that revolves in continuous motion. Its energy fuels its players beyond exertion. It is a sport driven by desire, passion, and inspiration. Hockey isn’t just about speed, precision, or supremacy. Its far more demanding that that. If hockey were that simple, it would not be as entertaining.
It is that time of the year when the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been highlighted by high-octane offenses, big bruising hits, and exhilarating wins.
Only sixteen teams earn a spot to go the playoffs and eight teams in each conference, respectively. With two conferences, there are three divisions in each and teams who win its division earn the right to a top three spot in the conference. The rest of the teams must finish with as many points as possible to at least clinch the eighth seed in their respective conferences. Playoff series are best of seven games. Each round begins with the highest seed playing the lowest seed and the highest seeds have home ice advantage.
In this year’s 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Western Conference teams are seeded as such: 1) Vancouver 2) St. Louis 3) Phoenix 4) Nashville 5) Detroit 6) Chicago 7) San Jose and 8) Los Angeles. So far, the LA Kings are leading the series against Vancouver 3 games to 1. St. Louis has disposed of San Jose 4-1. Phoenix leads their series over Chicago 3-2. Lastly, Nashville defeated Detroit 4-1. The Eastern Conference teams are: 1) New York Rangers 2) Boston 3) Florida 4) Pittsburgh 5) Philadelphia 6) New Jersey 7) Washington 8) Ottawa. Currently on the east side, Ottawa leads New York 3-2. Washington leads Boston 3-2. Florida leads New Jersey 3-2. Finally, Philadelphia leads Pittsburgh 3-2.
There are four rounds in the playoffs: Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Conference Finals, and the Stanley Cup Finals. To get to the final round, teams must win sixteen of the most excruciating, heart pounding and gut wrenching playoff games a fan might ever watch. When teams reach the pinnacle of hockey, what they are lifting is 35 pounds of everything they have worked for, fought for, and lived for: The Holy Grail of hockey, Lord Stanley’s Cup.