NHL Playoff Overtimes Should be Capped, Shootout Added

Thursday night, I had the pleasure of watching NHL playoff hockey featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators. The Pens/Sens game was fun and all, but it was a disappointment for me; I was expecting to see the Sharks and Avalanche game. Why was the problem? Oh yeah, the Pittsburgh game went into triple overtime. Granted, it wasn’t the longest overtime in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but still triple O.T. is a bit much.

I don’t really understand why we can’t see a shootout in playoff hockey. They are always exciting, fast-paced, and they get the crowd going. In an instant it can be all over for a team and yeah that part sucks, but that can happen during the overtime period too. These numerous overtimes are resulting in players becoming worn out. That to me leads to boring hockey, and for what purpose?  Why do we change the rules once we enter playoff play?

I do understand that the shootout sort of resembles the whole “one and done” deal of the field goal to win a game in O.T. in NFL games, but before you can get to a shootout during the regular season in the NHL, you have to play a period of overtime first. That seems pretty fair to me. If neither team can score during the extra 20 minutes they are allowed, then let them take it to a shootout. No one knows what the outcome of a shootout will be. The Penguins could have advanced to the conference semis had a shootout been an option, or the hands of fate could have still let the Sens win. This year, the Stanley Cup can really go to anyone. Either way, I think this whole unlimited overtime stuff has to go.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    I couldn’t disagree more. Part of what makes playoff hockey so great is that they don’t have a cheap ending. They keep going and going and going until the game is finally over. I too love the excitement of a shootout but I don’t think it’s representative of what hockey is. Shootouts eliminate teamwork, defenders, passing, checking, and many other aspects of the game. Most games don’t take three overtimes to be decided, so that’s rare. But I think it’s rare in a good sense, not a bad one. To think, after playing 120 minutes of hockey one night, they have to return and do it again two nights later. I love that.

    Also, in the regular season they cap the OT at five minutes before going to a shootout to keep game length more sensible. In the playoffs, let ‘em play as long as it takes!

  • http://www.spartyandfriends.com sparty

    are you out of your mind? the shootout is terrible idea for the playoffs. let hockey decide a hockey game. not a skill competition. you are better than this, come on man.

  • Erin Redmond

    Haha don’t blame Larry this is all me. If you read his above comment he completely disagrees with me and that’s fine. I just find shootouts more
    exciting than exhausted hockey players but I understand both sides here guys.

  • SpinMax

    Marathon hockey games are the most legendary! It should never change. If it did I’d hope they’d at least play
    an entire period, then a shootout. Unless it was a deciding game of a series then it continues until a score.

  • Akshun

    As a Sharks fan myself i can honestly say you couldn’t be anymore wrong.. Playoff hockey is awesome and there is nothing better than Overtime Playoff Hockey.. First goal wins, how can you beat that?? If you were a fan of the Senators or Penguins you would understand that, and probably have been on the edge of your seat for the whole game especially during all 3 OT’s… in the world of the internet you can stream all the games online (which i did myself waiting for it to start on tv) .. if you should have any beef with the NHL it should be them getting another channel to help broadcast more games, the Sharks have been pretty much screwed this entire playoffs having all of their games be JIP (joined in progress) meaning that we had to wait for the other games to end before watching the Sharks game on national televsion.

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    I completely disagree on this one. I would be more in favor of dumping the shootout in the regular season and handing out ties.

  • skip

    The ignorance displayed in this article is mindboggling. The worst aspect of the NHL is the regular season shootout. Some games are worth two points, some three. It is asinine. Does the NBA they could have free throw shootouts? The NFL extra point shootouts? MLB batting practice pitches in extra innings? The shootout, another brilliant idea brought to you by Buttman, is a joke and an embarrassment.

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    In all my years of watching sports, some of the most memorable moments for me have included watching overtime games involving my team, the Red Wings. Playoff hockey is superb, and I certainly would never want to lose the excitement of sudden death. No chance that the NHL would ever go to a shootout in the playoffs.

  • ED

    Only WHIMPS do shootouts. Takes a man to play overtimes. Besides they are paid enough to do it.

  • Wowzers

    “Part of what makes playoff hockey so great is that they don’t have a cheap ending.”
    Correction: If there are more than 30 seconds left in an overtime period when a goal is scored and the other team doesn’t get to retaliate, then that’s a cheap ending!