Calling the NHL’s half-decade old experiement in ending ties, “worse than a gimmick”, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks opines of the shootout, “where once the shootout was a novelty, where once it served as an entertainment vehicle, albeit one of questionable authority, it has become an exercise equally as tedious as listening to Joe Buck call a baseball game.” This, despite Buck’s broadcasting rarely yielding moments as entertaining as those above (the odd bit of Arte Lange target practice, aside).
There is no way to tweak this blight on the game. More teams are playing for 60-minute ties than at any time since the lockout; 27 percent of all games this season have gone into overtime, with the previous high last year’s 22.9 percent.
Beyond that, more coaches are playing for 65-minute ties than ever before as well, Almost two out of every three overtime contests (65.6 percent) have gone into the shootout, with the previous high the 58.4 percent of 2006-07.
And the percentage of overtime games generally increases as seasons evolve because coaches become more conservative.
It is time for hockey games to be decided by hockey players and by hockey plays. It is time for the shootout to be replaced by a five-minute, three-on-three overtime period that, when necessary, would follow a scoreless five-minute four-on-four overtime.
And if neither team would score — imagine a 3-on-2 power play — then the 70-minute deadlock would be entered in the standings as just that — a tie game with each team getting a point for its trouble. Now that’s a novelty