The NHL Should Change Regular Season Overtime, Shootout

Mike DaquilaContributor IDecember 19, 2011

Credit to AP Photo
Credit to AP Photo

We can all reflect back on a great regular season overtime moment. 

Whether it's Zach Parise's goal against Montreal, Dan Ellis' amazing save against Dallas, or Saku Koivu and Alex Oveckin's amazing goals against the Islanders, it is always exciting. 

Hockey is a very fast-paced, exciting sport and fans love that.  We crave those game-winning goals that come with seconds left.  We love those saves that you can never forget, and the amazing comebacks that make your heart pound. 

So it seems like a good idea to add a chance for even more excitement. 

Four-on-four overtime is actually, in my opinion, a good idea for the NHL.  It creates back-and-forth chances for both teams, odd man rushes, breakaways and makes power play opportunities so much more important. 

It would let the league's top players shine, taking more of the spotlight for those five minutes. 

The battles fought for the one lonely extra point can be fierce and memorable.

One change that must be made is rule 84.2, which states:

"A team shall be allowed to pull its goalkeeper in favor of an additional skater in the overtime period.  However, should that team lose the game during the time in which the goalkeeper has been removed, it would forfeit the automatic point gained in the tie at the end of regulation play." 

This rule has to go. 

Forfeiting your tie point because you made a push to win the game is just not fair. 

A team plays a tough 60-minute game and the league is going to steal their hard-earned point because they pulled their goaltender? 

That is just cruel.

I think regular season overtime needs one big change—the removal of the golden goal. 

The first goal in overtime should not decide a regular season game.  Overtime is like a small game played after the main one to decide the extra point; it should be played for a time limit. 

If one team scores, their opposition should have a chance to come back.  It is only a few minutes more to play and is not very strenuous for the players.  In the event of a tie after the overtime, the shootout would commence.

But is five minutes long enough for overtime?  In some high school leagues, they play eight minutes.  You could also make an argument for 10 minutes. 

I don't think playing another 20-minute period is reasonable for the regular season, and you could also include two five-minute periods. 

I don't think time is hugely important to the overtime; usually, the lack of it is what makes overtime exciting. 

Now put it all together.  Imagine a a great game ends in a tie and the teams start four-on-four overtime.  Toss in a power play, an empty net and a comeback and you have a great cap to a great game.

I'm not saying any of this has to happen, I'm simply just pondering what I think could make for a fantastic change to the game I love.  I know that I'm not putting forth a hammered-out plan, but just tossing out some ideas.

I would like to hear any thoughts anyone else has.