On April 16, 2019, in Sporting News, by Bobby Goodspeed

The Stanly Cup Playoffs are once again underway. Our fastest, hardest hitting and most brutal popular team sport takes to the ice to determine which is the best team in the National Hockey League for 2019, and the competition is tight as always.  Of the 31 teams in the NHL, only the top 16 are still in competition for North America’s oldest professional sports trophy.

These guys don’t fool around.  They go at each other with big sticks in almost comically padded uniforms and sharpened skates on slick ice at high speed.  It’s not always pretty and the action is at times so quick that even the most dedicated fan can’t follow the little black dot out on the ice called the ‘puck’ which both teams chase back and forth and up and down until someone knocks the thing into a goal which is guarded by a guy in even still more padding known as a ‘goalie’.

The object of the game is to put the puck into the netting which is protected by that goalie.  The puck itself is only 3 inches across and only one inch high.  It is made of galvanized rubber and is very hard. Actually, the puck is made even harder before each match by being frozen to reduce bouncing on the ice.

To the players and those close to the sport, the puck is known as the ‘biscuit’ and their main goal is to put the ‘biscuit in the basket’ while trying to keep from being slammed into the side wall by what must look like a freight train coming at you on the ice.

Now the rules say that the players are supposed to use those big sticks only to bat the puck around the ice and into the net, however, more often than not, the sticks land on players from the other team.  For this Hockey has what is called a ‘penalty box’ to which a player who has gone too far and broken some rule, or another player.  The penalty is timed and then the offending player is allowed back out on the ice and into the heat of the action.

It takes a lot of good old fashioned strength and endurance to play professional ice hockey.  These playoffs are best of seven series and go on until the first part of June, that’s a long world series. But then, Hockey is a tough sport.

So we are off again on another quest for the Stanley Cup.  With so many games to be played with so many unpredictable outcomes, the situation is ripe for wagering on all levels.  Have at it!


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