Dec 14, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (50) makes a save in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Get Rid of the NHL Shootout

The NHL brought in the shootout to eliminate tie games in the 2005-06 season. At the time, it may have seemed to be a creative alternative, but in reality it’s the opposite. I say that because when it comes down to playoff tiebreakers, shootout wins have no impact.

The Detroit Red Wings have been a consistent victim of the shootout. My theory on that is the Detroit Red Wings always have been a veteran heavy team. The shootout favors younger players with fresher ideas for how to trick the goalie. Plus they are faster and more agile.  As result, the Detroit Red Wings really are not built for the shootout.

My alternative to the shootout is rather simple. Either the NHL should award playoff tiebreaker points for the  shootout winner or simply extend overtime for until a team scores. Even if that means that after a certain minute mark in the overtime period with no goal, less players would be on the ice. This could bring even more excitement and focus as the skaters would have more ice to work with.

Currently overtime lasts for five minutes during the regular season, followed by the shootout if no goal is scored. In the playoffs there is not even a shootout. Instead there are 20 minute overtime periods until a single goal is scored. Why should there be a difference? One game, one set of rules. My regular season overtime would be ten minutes long. For the first half there would be four skaters on each side,  if no goal is scored by then, the next three minutes would be three on three.

And finally if there is still no goal scored, the last two minutes would be two on two with the option of a goalie being pulled for an extra skater. That way there would be an empty net which would lead to a high probability of a goal. After ten minutes, if there’s no goal, then the result would be a tie. For the playoffs, I feel that the overtime format should stay as it is, twenty minutes at a time until a goal is scored.

Teams can complain all they want about how much they don’t like ties, but a tie is still better than a loss. Getting into overtime guarantees each team one point as it is. That one point combined with your overtime record can put your team in the playoffs. In the long run, eliminating a shootout and tinkering with the length of overtime would help even the playing field and bring more excitement to the NHL. If it helped the Detroit Red Wings win some more games, that would be great as well.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Detroit Red Wings NHL NHL Shootout

  • brucekennedy

    You say the “shootout” was introduced seven years ago and now when the Red Wings can’t win a “shootout” you want to eliminate it? Sounds like sour grapes to me. Where were you five years ago? Your arguments, if valid, would have been valid five years ago, but yet not a peep. Your argument about the Red Wings not being built for the “shootout” holds no water whatsoever. Every sport from college football, the NBA, MLB and NFL adapt to the changes in rules, philosophies and style of play, that they face. If you feel the “shootout” puts the Red Wings at a disadvantage then the Red Wings need to re-tool their team to fit the situation. Draft some “younger” players, to counter the fact that the “shootout” favors younger players, as you suggest.

    • Frank

      I am a wings fan and would think his comment about age being a factor is silly. Who does Babcock put in the shootout? The older players. He’s a pretty good coach, so if he thought younger players would be more agile and trickier, he’d put them in.

      All that being said, I don’t like the shootout after only 5 minutes. Is like a 5 minute 4-4, then 5 minute 3-3, then 5 minute 2-2, then the shootout or a tie. The OTL does play into the tiebreakers, but I think OTWs should count less. Perhaps give a point if you win with players competing but not if you win in a SO. Only give the W.

      • Justin Davis

        The shootout win really should benefit a tiebreaker in the standings. I like having less players on the ice in overtime though to raise the creative aspect for the skaters.

    • Justin Davis

      Detroit needs to do a better job adapting to the “shootout.” Younger players would be the key.

  • Justin Davis

    I agree that the Detroit Red Wings need more young players. My main argument against the “shootout,” is that is has no impact on playoff tie breaking scenarios, when an overtime win without it does.

  • Tony Fischer

    The shootout doesn’t favor younger players. The shootout favors players who exhibit skill and mental toughness. Our goal scorers just seem to choke on the pressure of the shootout. It is really inexplicable

  • Justin Davis

    The Winter Classic showed this problem again!