Overtime is the topic-du-Jour, and every pundit who can’t stay up past 9:00 PM on a Tuesday is upset. Mostly, the upset seem to be reporters and MSM types looking to stir something up. For instance, from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News (via the AOL Fanhouse):
Give the teams two 20-minute overtime periods, then go to the shootout. Even two extra periods might be too much, but this is called a compromise.
Umm… No. This is called crap. This is lazy. It certainly isn’t called hockey.
Asking these players to play beyond two overtimes is unfair, unhealthy, mentally and physically exhausting and detrimental to the quality of hockey that comes in later games. During the regular season, teams cannot play three nights in a row. Why is it OK to ask them to play more than nine periods in three nights during the playoffs?
What? We are asking them to play these games? I think they know what they could be getting into. I don’t ask them to play long overtimes. I am usually screaming at my TV, “Will you please score a goal?” These players should be honored to be playing for the Stanley Cup, and if it’s hard and long, that just goes with the territory. But unfair? Mentally and physically exhausting? Or is it unfair and exhausting when you have to stay up and watch? They should be exhausted. Hockey isn’t puppies and flowers. It isn’t sitting on the couch.
This is the part off the article I hate the most:
Protect the players. Value the hockey. End the endurance test.
Value the hockey? End the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or even a final, or even, god forbid, a SCF Game 7 in a shootout? That is how we value the hockey? How about we value the hockey by letting them play hockey?
Every time the NHL has any sort of inconvenience, people pour out of the gutters to waive fingers at the game and tell us just how the NHL get it wrong. Now, it seems it’s even the players getting in a jab or two. From Larry Brooks at the NY Post (via Kukla’s Korner):
“It used to be you’d come into the room after a long overtime game and it’d be like, ‘Wow! Did you see that?’ Now, it’s kind of, ‘Oh, another one?’ ” Shanahan told Slap Shots.
“In five-on-five, you can see that teams generally play very conservatively after an initial burst. Even though there’s probably less chance of having as many long overtime games as in the past because of the way referees call penalties now, the hockey just isn’t especially good or entertaining as you move further along. And the longer a game goes, the more impact it has on the quality of play in the next game, and maybe the next two.
“With four-on-four, you’d have exciting, attack hockey. We discussed this during our meeting coming out of the lockout. We discussed five-on-five, four-on-four, three-on-three, and a shootout, but we came to the conclusion that we should keep it the way it’s always been,” the winger said. “But if it’s on the agenda this summer, and I expect it to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s sentiment to change it and make it somewhat consistent with the way we play the regular season.
“I would support a change.”
Oh no, Old Man Shanahan is getting a little tired, has a hot date, or is just a little peckish. All this hockey is getting in the way of nap time. So it’s time to change the game again? Shanahan even suggests that a shootout may be the way to go. Is there anyone, other than the victors, who are satisfied with a shootout ending in the Olympics, or other international competition?
This is getting ridiculous. Like every media trend story, I’m sure this one will die down pretty fast, forgotten almost as quickly as the Cup is hoisted. Some of us like OT just the way it is. Let those who don’t check the boxscore in the morning. We don’t need to change the game every season. As much as I like to see some 4 on 4 hockey, I don’t want to see it become the norm of the playoffs. Please, get off the high horse, and remember, the game is for everyone, not just those who have to get up early. Have a little more coffee, and enjoy the playoffs.