Hawk Talk: OT or Not OT
For some reason, I've soured on almost everything overtime related.
I like the 4-on-4 play, but that's it. The 'three-point game' is most annoying. I know it has kept a lot of teams in the race, but in my mind it has diluted the perception of the product. And I've turned toward the purists when it comes to the shootout. It's an arbitrary way to determine a winner.
I know the crowd gets to its feet when the shootout begins, but it's not as climactic as first imagined. In fact, I believe it's the opposite, and I think the reason is that the 4-on-4 OT period is more exciting. I'm for expanding that to ten minutes. And if no one scores after ten, then we can go to a shootout... or... a TIE!
I prefer a tie. First off, it eliminates the three-point game, and doing a shootout AFTER 10 minutes of OT would prolong the game back to the three hour days. The NHL has done a nice job of keeping the games right around 2:30 (or under).
As of this writing, if you can believe it, only 67 out of 165 games (that have gone to OT) have been decided in the overtime period. That's 98 games so far that have been determined by the shootout 'gimmick'. That's too many.
Add a lousy five minutes (no commercial or extra timeout breaks) and we can assume to double that number from 67 to more like 134. I think the number would be even higher because as that period moved along there'd be more power plays called due to fatigue and maybe even more softies allowed for the same reason.
Even if we stick with 134 out of 165, that's only 31 games that would be called a tie. Divide that by 30 teams, and what do you know, at this point in the season teams would be averaging one tie. Big deal.
All it takes is 5 more minutes. No more. No less.
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