I am glad that I waited a day to post my feelings on the current NHL point system involving the shootout. I know I don’t need to remind you of the point break down, but just in case you need a refresher here you go. If my math is correct, you receive 2 points for a win in regulation, and 0 points for a loss in regulation. If the game goes to overtime the winner still receives 2 points, and the losing team receives 1 point. If a winner is not decided in overtime, then the game goes to a 3 round shootout where the winner is given 2 points and the losing team gets 1 point.
Here is my question. Where does this magical extra 1 point come from? It is a mythical point delivered from the hockey Gods? We will never know I guess. I will not be indulging you with my thoughts on last nights Canes vs. Pens game, or how Pittsburgh fans should be disgusted for their reaction to the Jeff Skinner hit. Nope. I will not go there. I am going to stick to my article, and discuss the point system, and the shootout. Here we go.
- Option 1. Take out the shootout. In my opinion the shootout was added to attract fans to the sport. Do we still believe that a shootout is the main reason why fans keep coming back to see game after game? Are we that spoiled or irritated that if a game were to end in a tie we would walk away feeling unfulfilled?
- Option 2. I am not saying that we need to take out the overtime period. By no means am I saying that. Here is my suggestion to overtime. Instead of a 5 minute, four on four overtime period, push the time limit back up to a full 20:00 minute period. What’s that you ask? Does the first goal win, or do you play the full 20:00 minute period? Either one would be suitable. As long as a winner is decided in a regulated period of hockey it does not bother me. The Carolina Hurricanes played fantastic last night and deserved a win. Instead they were given a loss in a shootout. Like I said earlier, I am not talking about the Hurricanes game last night.
- How about this fantastic idea for the point system. Make the whole game worth 3 points. If a team wins in regulation, give them the 3 points. Think how much ground a team could make up if they could go on a 3 or 4 game win streak. Think about how much closer the divisional and conference races would be. If you win the game in regulation you get all 3 points. If you lose the game in regulation you get 0 points. Then, and only then, in the overtime period the winner takes 2 points and the losing team gets 1 point. No shootout. Let the teams battle it out on the ice in a full 20:00 minutes, or a first goal wins overtime period. Let the boys play 5 on 5 hockey. You don’t think that fans would want another period of hockey? You don’t think Bryan Allen or Jay Harrison would have liked to check the hell out of the Penguins? I think so.
Regardless of what you like or dislike about this article is irrelevant. I hate seeing any team lose a game in a shootout. The point is that teams who put it all out on the line do not deserve to lose by way of a shootout. This isn’t the olden days. Let the boys play it out. Fans will still come, highlights will be made, fans will cheer and boo. Memories will be made at hockey games.