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NHL Overtime: Is Eliminating Shootouts The Answer?

Kevin FreiheitContributor IAugust 22, 2010

This summer, the National Hockey League has been looking at ways to improve the game. From moving the faceoff circles to eliminating shootouts, NHL officials have targeted a few ideas that could be beneficial to the entire league.

After the NHL lockout, the shootout came into effect and many fans were excited about it, as expected. The shootout was something rarely seen in real-life, and with the number of superstars around the NHL, it sounded like a promising idea.

Now, five years later, the idea has not panned out as hoped. The shootout has even cost the New York Rangers to miss the playoffs, and allowed the Philadelphia Flyers to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The shootout’s intention was to have team’s go all-out during the five minute overtime, especially with the four on four. Instead, many have played conservative hockey, and over 15 percent of the games have gone to a shootout, which is far too many.

Before all of this, the idea was to eliminate tie games, in which teams would each earn one point. Rather than abandoning the shootout completely, the NHL is more likely to alter the overtime session. In a couple years from now, the overtime may consist of two on two or three on three, something that is rarely seen.

Without that point, there would always be ties in the standings, meaning that teams would have to rely on the tiebreaker scenarios, which the NHL has just changed recently.

Beginning this season, if there is a tie in points, the first tiebreaker will be a combination of regular season victories and overtime victories. This will exclude all shootout wins that a team has. This is an attempt for teams to play a bit harder during the overtime session and not rely on the shootout as much.

What do you think? Should the NHL use the shootout to break the tie? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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