Why playoff hockey is so different
Intensity, physicality and strategies on offense and defense all change in playoffs
- Len Redkoles/NHLI/Getty ImagesEvery battle for a loose puck has added importance in the NHL playoffs.
The words "intensity" and "NHL playoffs" go hand-in-hand. Ask a player about the postseason and unprovoked, the "I" word rolls off his tongue.
"I think when the game gets going, it's more intensity and awareness," said Dallas forward and 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards.
"It's more intense for sure," Nashville forward Mike Fisher, a veteran of 75 playoff games, said.
"Everything is faster, it's harder, it's more intense," Detroit forward and four-time Stanley Cup champion Tomas Holmstrom said.
According to an online dictionary, the definition of intensity means "existing or occurring in a high or extreme degree." Taken at this value, the previous statements are correct. The style of hockey in the playoffs is more "extreme" than in the regular season. But what exactly does this specifically mean? ESPN Insider asked several postseason veterans to dissect the true meaning of playoff hockey.
To read more about what makes playoff hockey so different from the regular season, you must be an ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NHL HEADLINES
- Stars honor Cup hero Modano, retire jersey
- Caps score 3 times in 3rd, rally past Coyotes
- Lupul nets OT winner as Leafs defeat Flyers
- Smith lifts Bruins past Lightning in shootout
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
NHL Insider Content
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Prospectus: Rating B's, Canucks' depth
CapGeek: Bs, Canucks provide cap blueprints Conn Smythe Watch: Thomas takes the lead
Greenberg: Projecting Tyler Seguin
Greenberg: Lapierre is Canucks' MVP
Prospectus: Special teams aren't that key
Conn Smythe Watch: Kesler's charge
Joyce: Sharks stars lack 'it'
Greenberg: Best Gs vs. the best shots
Conn Smythe Watch: Thomas rises
Button: Philly's crisis of crease confidence
Greenberg: Can blocks carry Bolts to Cup?
Prospectus: Ranking Caps' playoff failure
Prospectus: Top playoff rooks since 1998
Conn Smythe Watch: Roloson No. 1
Prospectus: Datsyuk remains underrated
Conn Smythe Watch: Neuvirth shines
Greenberg: Best D pairs vs. Alex Ovechkin
Prospectus: Thomas doesn't give B's big edge
Prospectus: Playoff team depth rankings
Cooper: Preds try to ditch Rd. 1 jinx
Prospectus: Team-by-team odds to win the Cup
Prospectus: Ranking the first-round netminders
Prospectus: These Sharks built to last
Prospectus: Puck luck could pluck Ducks
Cooper: Why playoff hockey is so different
Team Scouting Reports
How to beat the Boston Bruins
How to beat the Philadelphia Flyers
How to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins
How to beat the Washington Capitals
How to beat the Anaheim Ducks
How to beat the Detroit Red Wings
How to beat the San Jose Sharks
How to beat the Vancouver Canucks
May 11: Why Wings may soon fall off
April 28: Strome surges in Mock Draft 2.0
April 13: Nashville tries to overcome history
April 11: D. Sedin tops final player rankings
April 7: Coaches feeling the hot seat
April 6: How Caps' draft strategy has worked
March 30: Can Flyers win Cup with Bobrovsky?
March 9: Re-ranking Top 50 draft prospects
Feb. 28: Traded prospect evals
Feb. 28: Rating trades in the West
Feb. 28: Rating trades in the East
Feb. 17: Worst. Trades. Ever.
Feb. 17: NHL Mock Draft 1.0
NHL Rumor Central
Get news and rumblings before anyone
NHL Experts Blog
Daily ice shavings of insight
NHL Draft Blog
A look towards June 2011
- NHL Home
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Columbus B. Jackets
- New Jersey Devils
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Washington Capitals
- Boston Bruins
- Buffalo Sabres
- Detroit Red Wings
- Florida Panthers
- Montreal Canadiens
- Ottawa Senators
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Toronto Maple Leafs