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Top Secret Fyles: NHL, NBA playoffs in the spring provide riveting moments


From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

The NFL has its grand day, the spectacular showcase called the Super Bowl and reserved for the first Sunday in February.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament has its frantic three weeks in late March and early April when bracket hopefuls are watching their teams.

Baseball’s playoffs in October can provide heart-pounding drama and plenty of late nights for couch potatoes.

But for two months from mid-April through mid-June, the NBA and NHL playoffs can offer something for somebody, in terms of excitement and upsets. Though upsets happen more often in the NHL postseason than in the NBA.

First-round series usually provide fierce competition — especially keen when intense rivals are meeting for the umpteenth time.

The best part when the NHL and NBA playoffs begin is that there’s a game on TV every night, right through the respective league’s finals.

It’’s not one day or three weeks, it’s two months of athletes bonding, and trying to endure to win a championship.

Here’s a brief look of what I expect in the NHL and NBA postseason:

NHL — Bruins over Penguins in the East finals; Ducks over Kings in the West finals; Bruins over Ducks in Stanley Cup Finals.

The Bruins and Penguins have to be wary of upset bids by the Red Wings and Blue Jackets, respectively, in the opening round.

NBA — Pacers over Heat in East finals; Thunder over Spurs in West finals. Thunder over Pacers in the finals.

The two-time defending champion Heat are formidable, but may show cracks over a long season. Indiana and Miami have the makings of terrific series if they meet. Oklahoma City has dominated San Antonio the past two seasons.

n Congratulations to Union College senior and Massena native Matt Hatch after the Dutchmen won the NCAA Division I hockey title Saturday night, beating the University of Minnesota, 7-4, at Philadelphia. The forward contributed an assist during the Dutchmen’s four-goal first period.

When living in the Capital District during the early-1990s, I can recall the days when Union was the ECAC Hockey’s punching bag for many seasons while trying to stay afloat against the league’s powers. The program turned the corner about 12 years ago when head coach Kevin Sneddon arrived and subsequent head coaches Nate Leaman and Rick Bennett, now the bench boss, have kept the momentum going.

It seems hard to believe but true: the men’s and women’s Division I hockey crowns belong to Union and Clarkson, respectively — both primarily Division III nonscholarship athletic schools residing in upstate New York.

Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in Major League Baseball: 1. Brewers; 2. Dodgers; 3. Braves; 4. Athletics; 5. Giants; 6. Tigers; 7. Cardinals; 8. Yankees; 9. Nationals; 10. Mariners.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at

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