For the sake of argument, let’s say you are a fan of both the NHL and NBA.

Other than your team winning, your hope is to watch compelling drama along with some upsets.

Which of the two leagues provides more competitiveness in the first round of playoffs?

I have always maintained it is the hockey and the results back it up big time again this year.

It has become the norm in round one for the Stanley Cup playoffs to provide more drama, thrills, and entertainment than the best of basketball.

This does not mean the NHL is a better league or that the NBA further down in the post-season can not match or surpass what thrills hockey has to offer.

Now here’s some of the evidence from this year’s opening round.


East Division:

New York Islanders: #4 seed over #1 Pittsburgh in 6 games (2 of them in OT)
Boston #3 over #2 Washington in 5 games (3 of them in OT)

Central Division:

Carolina #1 over #4 Nashville in 6 games (4 of them in OT)
Tampa Bay #3 over #2 Florida in 6 games (1 in OT)

West Division:

Colorado #1 over #4 St. Louis in 4 games
Vegas #2 over #3 Minnesota in 7 games (1 in OT)

North Division:

Montreal #4 over Toronto #1  in 7 games (2 in OT)
(#Habs won the series despite trailing 3 games to 1)

Winnipeg #3 over Edmonton #2 in 4 games (3 in OT)

Summary of the NHL (Round 1)

Two series ended in four games but only the Avalanche and Blues series was not competitive.

One series ended in five but three of those games went to OT.

Three series ended in six.

Two series ended in the maximum seven.

Three of the eight series are considered short (5 or less) while five of the eight are considered long (6 or more).

The lower seed won 5 of the 8 first-round series.

Of the 45 NHL first-round games, a whopping 16 of them, more than one-third were decided in overtime.

Being at home or on the road was basically a wash with the home team winning 23 and the visitors 22.

(FYI: I am not including round two but if you are wondering there have been nine games completed following Thursday’s action; six have been decided by one goal, another was decided by one goal plus an empty netter, four have gone into overtime and the home team is just 3-6)



Eastern Conference:

#1 Philadelphia over # 8 Washington in 5 games
(None of the games in OT or decided by 5 or fewer points)

#2 Brooklyn over #7 Boston in 5 games
(None of the games in OT or decided by 5 or fewer points

#3 Milwaukee over #6 Miami in 4 games
(One of the games in OT and one game decided by 5 or fewer points. Each of the other three decided by a minimum of 17 points)

#5 Atlanta over #4 New York in 5 games
(None of the games in OT and one game decided by 5 or fewer points)

Western Conference:

#1 Utah over #8 Memphis in 5 games
(None of the games in OT and one game decided by 5 or fewer points)

#2 Phoenix vs #7 LA Lakers in 6 games
(None of the games in OT and no games decided by 5 or fewer points)

#3 Denver over #6 Portland in 6 games.
(One of the games decided in OT and one game decided by 5 points or less)

#5 Dallas leads #4 LA Clippers 3 -2 (Series to go 6 or 7 games)
(None of the first five games decided in OT and one game decided by 5 points or less)

Summary of the NBA (Round 1):

Five of the eight series are considered short (5 or less) while just three are long (6 or more).  If the LA Clippers don’t beat Dallas tonight, round one will be left without a series that goes seven games.

Of the seven series completed only one lower seed won and that was #5 Atlanta who finished with the same record as #4 NY in the regular season (41-31)

Of the 41 games completed as the first round isn’t quite over, just two games have gone to overtime and only five were decided by five points or less.

Home teams had a slight advantage going 21-20. (The Mavericks-Clippers series has strangely seen the road team win the first five games)

To conclude NHL vs NBA:

NHL: 16 first-round overtime games
NBA: 2 first-round overtime games

NHL: 21 out of 45 first-round games decided by 1 goal (several others 1 goal plus empty netters)
NBA: 5 of 41 first-round games decided by 5 points or less

NHL: The team with home-ice advantage only won 3 of the 8 series
NBA:  The team with home-court advantage won 6 of the 7 series that have been completed to date

I rest my case.

Taking Note:


Kentucky Derby winner’s Medina Spirit failed drug test has been confirmed. Will the colt blame it on a tainted supplement from a stablemate?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California

The Cleveland Browns reportedly are passing on the prospect of Odell Beckham being joined by Julio Jones. Or as one veteran diva-watcher put it, ‘Why add Madonna when you already have Mariah Carey?’

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had all of his wisdom teeth extracted recently. In other words, a four-and-out.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times

(Editor’s Note: Here’s to a speedy recovery to Dwight Perry who has taken a medical leave from his job with the Seattle Times. We are all looking forward to his return)


I heard one reason the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Joe Thornton was for his playoff experience. That was like an NFL or CFL squad adding Charlie Brown to bolster their kicking team. (Added bonus from RJ: Thornton’s beard is almost as long as the Leafs drought)

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games.
Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).
His column appears Fridays on
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