Time to Minimize the Importance of the NHL Shootout

Scott GollContributor IDecember 30, 2008

I'll put it out front that I'm old school. 

Never liked the shootout, never will. 

I do understand, however, that it's likely here to stay.  

There's an unattractive aspect to the tie and a lack of finality that paying fans deserve to resolve.

I still believe overtime, and playing the game of hockey to resolve a deadlock, is the best way to finish a contest.  Play until someone wins.

Since scoring can be tough to do, I can understand why the NHL wanted some sort of way to minimize the length of a game, add excitement, and ensure a winner.

Unfortunately, the shootout is hockey's equivalent of the Home Run Derby, a three-point shooting contest, or "Punt, Pass, and Kick."

In short, the shootout reflects a one-on-one battle.  Hockey is rarely a one-on-one battle, except during a rare penalty shot.

To award two points for a regulation or overtime win, but award the same two points for winning a shootout contest, should not occur in my opinion.

The NHL should place more emphasis on winning the game during its "hockey stage," as opposed to its "skills competition" stage—otherwise known as the shootout.

Too many points are being handed out.   If you can't win in regulation or overtime, you don't deserve two points just for having a couple of skaters with fancy moves.

My system would give teams one point guaranteed for tying through regulation.  If you win overtime you get two points.  If you go to the shootout and win, you get 1.5.

Now, I know the half-point scenario is not clean, nor is it sexy.  But it sends a message that it's not simply enough to make it to OT and then cling to dear life until the shootout.

If your team is in the playoff hunt, or needs help in the standings, let's see you open it up, win it in OT, and earn the full two points.

You'll see more exciting overtimes—and hopefully fewer shootouts.

Winning a hockey game and winning some cutesy competition that only rewards the nifty skaters and stick-handlers are two different things.

I'd rather see someone knock home a rebound in overtime, while battling two defensemen, than see one more orchestrated breakaway.  Ever.