The flashing steel of their blades as they dart around the ice surface at a breakneck pace. The speed of the puck as they pass it so accurately from tape to tape across vast areas of the rink. The punishing hits. Masked men, robbing people blind. There’s so much that is spectacular about the game of hockey. It is the ultimate team sport. A basketball team can win a title getting contributions from as few as seven players. Football teams rarely utilize their second stringers and there’s always a few guys on every baseball team who only get free from the dugout or bullpen when the game is completely out of hand.
In hockey, every player matters. The best teams roll four lines and three sets of defensemen. The highly-skilled work the power play and the defensively responsible kill penalties. There’s a role for everyone on the team to fill – scorer, checker, playmaker, grinder, puckstopper, shutdown defender. It takes 18 skaters and two goaltenders to win the Stanley Cup and at some point during the season, every one of them will have to step up and carry the day.
It’s what makes hockey the ultimate team sport and why hockey should be the sport for you.
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Since 2005, when the NHL introduced a salary cap, the league has found a level of parity never before seen in the history of a loop that originally formed in 1917.
The difference between the Stanley Cup champions and the teams that ultimately end up as entry draft lottery contenders is razor thin and while this makes for tense nights on the ice for the teams, it’s wonderful in terms of wagering opportunities on NHL games.
With just 16 playoff spots available to the 30 teams, every night the action is intense and upsets are frequent.