When the shootout was added to the NHL five seasons ago, it was thought it would end the misery and debate of a tie game.
A sure winner getting a "W" in the win column and the full two points that matter so much near the end of the season.
It was soon apparent that the shootout may have created another long and heated debate on how to fairly solve a tie score.
When the shootout was first introduced in the 2005-06 season, there was much anticipation and excitment for hockey fans who longed to never leave the arena with a tie score and never knowing who was better.
Plus there was the added incentive of getting to see your favorite players go one-on-one with the "masked man" and make them flop like a fish with some wild dekes and fakes.
There has been plenty of that, and it is still exciting. The creativity and skills of the players in today's NHL could not be any greater.
Then again, hockey is a team sport, not an individual sport, so why is that the fate of a game must rest on the shoulders of individual shooters and goaltenders?
Good question, but the shootout does bring in the change-of-pace to keep the game interesting and get down to a winner.
But is this fair to the players and teams?
Some say no, and that the shootout although is fun to watch, it is not the best method for resolving a tie.
So what's the solution then? It's a tough question.
You must resolve the game with the entire team involved and yet still come down with a winner in the end.
Overtimes are some of the most exciting times in a hockey game. With the four-on-four rule opening up the ice (a debate we'll save for another day, by the way) it does create more chances for offense.
Five minutes of that is not enough, and I think most would agree. Twenty minutes is just too long, and with travel schedules and player fatigue to keep in mind, that is out of the picture.
So why not double today's time and go for 10 minute overtimes?
I believe that would be the best situation to have because 10 minutes is plenty of time to decide the winner.
I also think all of us could agree that it would give the shootout a higher meaning, because if two teams are battling and can't end it after an extra 10 minutes, I think we all agree that it needs the shootout after that.
It makes it more of a team accomplishment to win rather than giving one player props for a quick shot or dazzling move.
The playoff format of overtime, as many as you know, is continuous overtime and no shootout, a format not desirable for the regular season.
The shootout is exciting, and I like it, but I think giving an extra five minutes to the players as a group would give the shootout much more impact and make close games much more fun to watch.
The NHL should consider this option. It's a team sport, so try to let the players win it as a group, not as individuals.
Then again, its always fun to watch guys like Mike Ribeiro, Zach Parise, and others undress a goaltender to seal the game and pull out a win.