Shootout or Coin Flip? Overtime Rules Need Changing

overtime shootout win

65 minutes wasted in a heartbeat

The shootout has been around the NHL for almost 10 years since it was introduced in the 2005-2006 season and I for one am sick and tired of it.

There is nothing worse then watching a solid 60 minutes of exciting hockey where 2 evenly matched teams end the game tied.  Then they get a measly 5 minutes of overtime to try and finish the game and if that fails, we are awarded with the dreaded shootout.

Some fans find the shootout exhilarating.  A cool mini skills competition that puts skater against goaltender.  But once you get past the initial cool factor of the shootout you realize that many hockey games in the NHL are decided on nothing more than a coin flip.

Because really that’s all the shootout is.  A coin flip.  After two teams pour their blood, sweat and tears onto the ice, it becomes pretty much a 50-50 shot on who is going to win this game.

I for one would love to see the NHL adopt a new way of handling overtime.  Because in the regular season, 2 points can mean the difference between making the playoffs or not.  Every point counts and it’s disappointing that so many of them can come from the shootout.

Granted, a shootout is much more exciting and a better outcome than it used to be in the NHL.  Remember when teams would actually tie and get just 1 point each if a winner wasn’t decided after the 5 minutes of overtime?  That sucked even more!

Of course it wouldn’t work to have a playoff style of overtime where the game isn’t over until someone scores a goal, even if 100 extra periods are needed.  Over the course of a 82 game workload, it would just be overkill to have players play those kinds of minutes.

But something still needs to be done.  Two thoughts I have on the matter would to adopt a longer overtime.  Maybe 10 minutes of 4 on 4 overtime before the shootout would give teams a better chance of settling things on the ice where they belong.  Or even 5 minutes of 4 on 4 overtime followed by 5 minutes of 3 on 3 overtime would work.

Either way 5 minutes alone just isn’t enough time to settle a close game.  Especially when only two goals have been scored over 60 minutes of play, how do we expect to get a victor in a measly 5 minutes of overtime?  Hopefully something gets done with overtime in future hockey seasons.

And while we are on the subject of overtime rules, the single point awarded to a team that makes it to overtime needs to be abolished right away.  Why award a team for being close?  Close enough only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades and not amongst a game played by men!

If you have any thoughts on the subject, please leave a comment and let’s get a discussion started.