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NHL Playoffs vs. NBA Playoffs

Both the NBA and NHL start and finish around the same time. Both leagues have players that are the best at what they do. We are seeing leagues at the pinnacle once the postseason begins. Both are exciting to watch, but which one is better?

Basketball is my favorite sport. I have played it all of my life, and could watch two flunky teams play and love it. When the playoffs come around though, it is another story. The NHL Playoffs are vastly superior to the NBA Playoffs.

I love the fact that an eighth seed can defeat a one seed. I love the fact that the eighth seed can make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. How many times do you see this in the NBA? Now that players are joining forces and combining their talents, the case for upsets is diminishing. I loved when Golden State upset Dallas in 2007, I loved when New York upset Miami in 1999 and I loved when Denver upset Seattle in 1994. Three isn’t enough for me, though. I am all about “the underdog”. I love the Boise State’s and the George Mason/VCU/Butler’s.

There have been nine upsets by the eighth seed in the NHL. Nine upsets since 1994 (switched playoff format) makes for special things come playoff time. Every team knows that they must bring it every series unless they will be watching from home.

The intensity of the NHL Playoffs is 100 times more fierce than the NBA. Fighting isn’t necessarily as common in the playoffs as the regular season, but is still seen. The constant checking is unbelievable compared to the regular season. Seemingly, after every play there is a tussle of some sort. This up and down pace is something that the average fan can grab on to.

For three out of four quarters, the NBA reminds me of YMCA basketball in the regular season. One pass and shoot shouldn’t be considered an offense. There is no question that the playoffs are much better than the regular season.

The fans get into much more than normal. But, the fans in the NBA don’t compare to the NHL. There are a select few arenas in the NBA where the word “intensity” is allowed. To feel that electricity from a playoff NHL crowd is something you got to see for yourself.

When thinking of which playoffs are better, be reasonable. Hockey isn’t the most popular sport in the world, but give it some credit.

The product of the NHL might be slightly inferior to the NBA product overall, but the playoffs are no contest.

The NHL Playoffs start Wednesday while the NBA has a few games to go. Let the games begin!

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Born in Franklin, PA. Life-long Pittsburgh sports fan + Boston Celtics. Attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Working for WCUC - 91.7 and WCUB-TV. Clarion Call writer for two years.

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In response to “NHL Playoffs vs. NBA Playoffs”

  1. Grayson Hatch Apr 15 20114:04 pm


    The NBA playoffs of this year trump the NHL playoffs in any way imaginable. The east is a tossup and so is the west. Usually you know the lakers and the celtics will meet but this time, the vast majority of teams in the west especially have upset each other in the last month. Last years NBA finals were epic after a lackluster opening round but this year, the whole thing is going to be crazy. So I say the NBA playoffs. But then I’m not a hockey fan, the idea of men skating on ice after a puck never really spoke to me. I always found the NBA to get the highest caliber athletes ( yeah I know, shaq is a fat bastard). Lebron james, dwayne wade, d-rose they turn in electrifying plays. Killer cross overs, in your face shots, dunking on people, Buzzer beaters. These are just things you can’t find in Hockey. I’m biased I know, but in the end this is all about opinion.

    1. Justin Welton Apr 24 20119:53 pm


      Thanks for the read. You gave you opinion respectively…and i agree that the NBA has been good. I just grew up in the pittsburgh area and have always loved the Penguins so I am linked to that, as well as been around the playoffs for a long time. In the end, basketball is my favorite sport and I would probably choose college basketball over hockey because it is 10 times as better as NBA, but I love the NHL Playoffs over the NBA Playoffs.

      Thanks again though!

  2. Chris Hyland May 5 201112:56 pm


    Name an athlete who can run…pretty much everyone. Now name an athlete who can skate…now you really are talking about skilled players. The NHL as a league is definitely an underdog, but the fast pace of an NHL playoff game is far more intriguing than an NBA playoff game.

    We can agree skill level steps up in the playoffs, but the CONSITENT parody in the NHL is what make the NHL playoffs far better than the NBA. Why do you think the NFL is successful? Because every year, it is a NEW story of a NEW team who makes a playoff push and captivates the hearts of the nation.

    Since 1990 to the present day (21 year span), there have only been 7 different teams who have won the NBA title; in the NHL 13 different teams; in the NFL 13 different teams.

    With the consistent display of fantastic playoff games the NHL has displayed this year, it is hard not for a casual fan to pay closer attention…especially because there are so many teams that are very close talent level wise. Think about it…already 20 overtime games this post season and we are barely still in the 2nd round.

    People get tired of hearing of the same teams in the NBA, and because of the consistent parody the NHL has in comparison to the NBA, the NHL playoffs are far better than the NBA playoffs.

    1. Grayson Hatch May 6 20119:26 pm


      How are those sweeps going for ya in the second round there Chris? There won’t be any sweeps in the NBA’s second round. Any team playing right now could potentially win. Flyers 0 – 3, Redwings 0- 3, Washingtons out already, and Vancouver is about to clinch. Where’s this brilliant ‘parity’ you speak of? NHL playoffs are garbage this year, the NBA on the other hand hasn’t been a cakewalk.

  3. Christopher Rowe May 5 20111:05 pm


    Confused. “CONSITENT parody in the NHL is what make the NHL playoffs far better than the NBA”… was that supposed to be “constant parody” or perhaps “consistent parity” because the meanings are VERY different. One is a league with balance and dignity while the other is a bad SCTV sketch. Still confused? One means that every team has a fighting chance on an even playing field while the other is a league where only a dozen teams can win – but 16 make the playoffs anyway. Still confused? Neither the NBA nor NHL season have any bearing in the least but the NHL playoffs have weight and merit and value while the NBA is basically a puppet show!

    1. Grayson Hatch May 6 20119:29 pm


      How nice of you to pen an unbiased response like a true journalist. A puppet show? Nice use of a ‘Sketch TV’ metaphor. The good thing though is most of the country knows what the better product is so we’ll keep being covered on a real network.

  4. bebe bebe May 6 201111:26 pm


    Grayson you might be the biggest dick head to ever post a comment at this site. Your ignorance of not knowing the game of hockey is sickening. If you want to compare the NHL to the NBA then lets not be subjective. The first round of the NBA playoffs had no drama, none what so ever! How many 7 games series were they in the 1st round of the NBA playoffs?

    You can say all you want about the NHL in the 2nd round but the NBA playoffs are a joke. Just as you are a joke for not being a real sports fan and realizing which sport has a tougher road to bear when it comes to winning their season end championship. Every athlete or sportsfan, or commentator for that matter term the Stanley Cup the toughest to win in all of pro sports. Get a life scum bag.

    1. Grayson Hatch May 7 201111:45 am


      Bwahahaha You’re quite the retard. The first round had no drama? Yeah I suppose The 8th seeded grizzlies beating the first seeded spurs wasn’t shocking…Idiot. Yeah you had game 7′s in the first round. But this second round is filth pure and simple. And the NBA playoffs right now have been the most unpredictable thing ever. Memphis could knocks of The Thunder, Dallas is on the brink of knocking out LA, the Celtics are getting beaten by the Heat and the Hawks are giving the Bulls a tough time. But the 2nd round of the NHl playoffs? Wow Flyers and Bruins was supposed to be a hell of a game. To bad they got swept… Yeah there was a lot of drama there. But as I told the esteemed journalist who published this drivel, at least the masses know what the better product is. Celitcs heat game 1 got 9.7 million viewers. The highest game of the NHl playoffs so far got 2.3 million. And what makes a real sport is SUBJECTIVE you idiot. You must be a dumbass if you feel that anyone who disagrees with you doesn’t know ‘real sports’ lol. A chimpanzee with the inability to reason. And everyone might have termed it harder in the past but not THIS year buddy lmao. This year you can bet bettman is praying to the God’s of that filth known as Hockey that they don’t get an all Canada Finals series.

      1. Justin Welton May 7 201112:52 pm


        Yes and there is no doubt that high quality coverage of ESPN/TNT/ABC makes a big difference than garbage on NBC and VERSUS….huuuge difference.

        To be completely honest….this is one of the few years I can remember having this much parity in the NBA Playoffs. So has it been equally good or even better than the NHL? I think the way this second round is going I think it has been equally as good. But its not like we see this every year.

        Last year: two upsets in the first round, 5 and 7.
        2009 – two upsets, 5 and 6
        2008 – 0 upsets in first round

        NHL last year – four in the first round. They had a seventh and an eighth seed in the eastern conference finals for crying out loud. A seven in the Stanley Cup finals? Something we never see in the NBA.
        2009 – two
        2008 – four

        This whole question is hard to answer if you hate the other sport. The fact is the NBA Playoffs is having a very unordinary postseason.

        1. Grayson Hatch May 7 201112:56 pm


          Like you said ‘This whole question is hard to answer if you hate the other sport.’ So why bother saying the NBA is having a very unordinary postseason if you’re obviously biased against it? A bit nonsensical really.

          1. Justin Welton May 7 20111:26 pm

            ???? Did you really read the post? I said that basketball is my FAVORITE SPORT. I love the NBA…. lol why is there a misunderstanding? I don’t get it.

          2. Justin Welton May 7 20111:26 pm

            And I bother saying that it is unordinary….ummm because it is. Facts are facts man.

  5. Grayson Hatch May 7 20111:30 pm


    Dude you can’t be a hardcore NBA fan and then come out and say the NHL playoffs are better. It just doesn’t make any sense. I accept the NBA has had elite teams that usually always win, but that means the NBA playoffs aren’t as fun for you, and you’d rather watch men hit a puck on some ice? Whatever, this argument is pointless anyway, it’s all about opinion. All I know though, is you’re a half hearted NBA Fan. Have fun watching Versus.

    1. Justin Welton May 7 20111:50 pm


      No… i am a sports fan. Listen… the NBA is a joke compared to college hoops anyway. So give me that over NBA in a heartbeat.

      NBA = No strategy, rules or arena atmospheres other than two. IT IS A JOKE in the regular season. The playoffs are the only thing that is good about the NBA. It is strictly YMCA basketball.
      Like i told you… the NBA product is better than the NHL… but be reasonable. You are a fan of that sport whereas I am a fan of BOTH sports.

      “Dude you can’t be a hardcore NBA fan and then come out and say the NHL playoffs are better,” its called loving sports…

      1. Grayson Hatch May 7 20111:52 pm


        ‘the NBA is a joke compared to college hoops anyway’ If you’d expressed this particular sentiment at the beginning you could have saved us all some time. That sentence alone sums you up nicely.

        1. Justin Welton May 7 20111:57 pm



          Its funny how I am not a “journalist” because I don’t give an opinion you like…. rofl

          1. Grayson Hatch May 7 20112:04 pm

            Again twisting my words. I said you’re not a journalist because you hide your bias so well…Anyway this is pointless now. I’ll take satisfaction from the fact that your Celtics will be eliminated soon enough. Later.

  6. Grayson Hatch May 7 20111:54 pm


    The NBA is where the you go to see the Best Players in the world, play basketball. Apparently you enjoy watching Amateurs, and feel that Lebron, Kobe, Melo, D-wade and co on’t matchup to College Ball. You’re supposed to be a sports journalist? WOW.

    1. Justin Welton May 7 20112:01 pm


      No i enjoy watching REAL BASKETBALL… you know…zones, strategy, RULES, Passion….lol the regular season has zero of this until about half way through the fourth quarter.

      Give me players who play hard 100 percent of the time, offensive and defensive strategy, coaching, arena atmospheres and games that mean something early in the game…YMCA Basketball is what the NBA is my friend.

      again… i love sports so I love every single sport we have talked about. Now if you like both sports and can give me an honest answer…then you can come back and talk.


    2. Justin Welton May 7 20112:02 pm


      hahahahahahaha i mentioned in the original article that the NBA and NHL have the greatest players in the world. Before you comment…please pay attention to the article.

    3. Justin Welton May 7 20112:05 pm


      I’m done commenting on such hogwash after this one lol…what a joke.

      Feel free to be opinionated but make sense… NHL and NBA are both great, just because you hate the NHL doesn’t mean it stinks…it just means you can’t understand how great it is. I am not a “sports journalist” … about your not a “sports fan.” Gain some knowledge.

  7. Kirk Butler May 8 20114:34 pm


    Hey there big guy, I just wanted to commend you for this article. It’s not very often you hear an American step up and support the NHL over the NBA knowing that they will feel the wrath of those who are two ignorant to understand your point and immediatly refute it because they refuse to give the game of hockey any respect because the game originated in Canada.

    The NHL playoffs are an amazing spectacle…. the regular season can be a bit bore but the quality of hockey improves 10 fold the moment Lord Stanelys Cup is on the line.

    So thanks for being a voice of reason from south of the border.

    1. Justin Welton May 8 201111:28 pm


      Appreciate that. Thanks!

  8. Christopher Rowe May 9 20111:32 am


    NHL Playoffs definitely have it all over NBA (yes, American here). However, I still posit that each could be far better if they weren’t so watered down and drawn out. 16 teams making the postseason is ridiculous but worse still is that the NBA takes 15 days to play a 7-game series because they want to slurp ESPN (ESPN obviously slurps NBA see “The Decision”).

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