My wife and I have become hockey fans over the last few years. One of the parts of the game that we both dread are the overtime and shootout rules for National Hockey League (NHL) games when they are tied after regulation. We hate it.
The current rules for overtime are:
1. Teams play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point.
2. The overtime period will be played with each team at 3-on-3 manpower (plus goaltender) for the full five-minute period.
3. Manpowers during overtime will be adjusted to reflect the situation in the game, but at no time will a team have fewer than three (3) skaters on the ice during the overtime period. For example, if a team enters the overtime period on a power play, manpower would be adjusted from 5 on 4 at the end of regulation to 4 on 3 at the start of overtime. If a minor penalty is assessed during overtime, the teams will play 4 on 3. If a second minor penalty is assessed to the same team during overtime, the teams will play 5 on 3.
4. If the game remains tied at the end of the five (5) minute overtime period, the teams will proceed to a three-round shootout. After each team has taken three shots, if the score remains tied, the shootout will proceed to a “sudden death” format.
The main reason we don’t like it is that the 3-on-3 overtime is too gimmicky and the shootout takes away the team aspect of settling a tie game. I have thought about different changes to the overtime and I have come up with the following proposal to change overtime in the NHL.
When teams are tied at the end of regulation time, teams will alternate being on the power play. Here’s how it would work:
- A coin toss would determine choice of who goes on offense or defense first.
- The team on offense would get two minutes to score. The overtime power play would end when (A) the defense cleared the puck out of their zone or (B) when two minutes have expired if the puck has not been cleared.
- Teams would alternate overtime power plays until a winner was determined.
I have played this overtime scenario in my head and here’s an example of how it could work:
- Team A wins the coin toss and decides to go on defense first.
- Team B is on offense. Team A immediately clears the puck out of the zone.
- Team A goes on offense. Team B does not clear the puck out of the zone. Time expires.
- The next round is flipped with Team A on offense first
- Team A goes on offense. Team A scores a goal.
- Team B goes on offense. Team A clears the puck out of the zone. Team A wins.
Penalties would be the same as it normally is in regulation.
This version of overtime would keep the game more closely to a team game instead of the 3-on-3 or shootout format as it is now.
My wife and I talk a lot of hockey these days and we both think this method would be a better team overtime. Otherwise, we would just prefer the teams to tie and only have overtime games in the playoffs. If we went back to allowing regular season tie games, the point system could be changed to award the winning team with three (3) points instead of two (2) points and teams getting one (1) point for a tie.