NHL Philadelphia FlyersPittsburgh Penguins

Warning: Overtime Playoff Hockey May Cause Heart Attacks

It’s true. The NHL playoffs should come with a warning label: Overtime may be detrimental to your health. Ok, so maybe it has yet to be proven medically, but any fan who has watched their team struggle through playoff overtime knows the feeling.

It’s unlike anything in sports. Each game in a playoff series is full of intense emotions that cause anxiety, screaming and slamming of hands against couches or hard surfaces. Overtime turns up this frustration.

In overtime, every puck shot towards a net could be the one that ends the game. This means that every miss by your team is agonizingly close to a goal, while every bounce by the opponent in the offensive end is a dagger. The best part is that it goes on until someone scores.

In the NBA, both teams can make their case in five minute. In Major League Baseball, both teams get to bat and only the home team can put the game away. In college football, both teams get a chance. In the NFL, it’s sudden death overtime, but the game usually ends rather quickly and both teams do not have a chance to score every second during playing time. The closest thing to sudden death hockey was last year’s Tim Tebow 80-yard-pass to beat the Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game.

The full intermissions add to the anticipation. A double or triple overtime game will have a lot of pauses. Each break gives the fan time to build anticipation. There have actually been studies that show that taped games do not have the same anxiety attached, even if you do not know the result. The reason is that commercials allow for psychological build up. Long breaks between overtimes add up.

So in the end, enter playoff overtimes at your own risk. Do not watch without supervision and the NHL is not responsible for injuries or damages sustained during overtime. Penguins’ fans everywhere have to be crushed after their overtime loss to the Flyers last night. Flyers‘ fans just got to experience the greatest sensation in sports; winning an overtime hockey game in the playoffs. It’s sudden death out there.