When the NHL instituted this new rules of ending games, personally, I was rather excited to see these one-on-one matchups. I’m sure some of you did not share my optimistic view. However, as the years have passed, I’ve grown tired of the shootout. It just feels like teams with more individual skill have an advantage. For me, a hockey game shouldn’t come down to an individual players skill set. It should come down to more than just one player. A team who exercises better teamwork should be the result of a hockey game. Yeah, sometimes an individual player can take over a game, but doing so in an overtime or regulation is much different than a shootout.
Well, in the upcoming GM meetings, the subject of overtime rules will be one of the topics that will be discussed. Some GM’s have already expressed their desire for change. So far this season, 57% of overtime games have ended in a shootout, which is down three percent from last season. Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland is on record as saying this regarding overtime rules:
“I’d like to have a little longer overtime. I’d like to see us play four-on-four for four or five minutes and three-on-three for four or five minutes. I’d like to have more games decided playing hockey.”
Holland is one of the few people to openly suggest better ways of handling overtime rules. The New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has suggested that in overtime, teams switch sides of the ice as if it were the second period, currently used by the NCAA. Stating that the long line change would open up more scoring chances. Another possible choice is to make regulation wins worth three points instead of two. Therefore, overtime and shootout winners would receive two points and overtime and shootout losers would receive only one point. That would up the urgency for teams to win in regulation.
Some people have also gotten tired of the current overtime and shootout because some teams will play specifically to reach overtime or a shootout. In doing so, they’ll sit back and not play a pressure style of play. Like Tampa Bay Lightning’s old 1-3-1, they will just sit back and let the other team what ever they just as long as they don’t score. It does not make for exciting hockey. I hate to say it, but sometimes hockey can get boring. Styles of play like the 1-3-1 and when teams sit back hoping for overtime, aren’t good for the game.
What it comes down to for some people is the firm belief that sports is about winning and losing. There should not be points for almost winning. I’m sure everyone has heard about complaints about youth sports organizations giving out trophies for participation. It’s the same thing, kind of. Kids get a trophy just for showing up in uniform. I agree that giving away trophies for just showing up in uniform is ridiculous. All that does for kids is to say, “Hey, you didn’t win, but you showed up! Here’s recognition for it!” Total nonsense.