The shootout is one of the “innovations” in hockey that just doesn’t work. Like the glowing puck it was a nice idea as long as you ignore every fundamental and secondary thing wrong with it. Those faults are legion. It is time to put the shootout in the history books.
Here’s the plan:
- The first over time period will be thirty minutes. Tv break after the 19th minute, and 2 minutes and 30 seconds of commercials during a ten minute break between subsequent overtimes.
- Second, and additional overtimes will be forty minutes with 90 second breaks for commercials and ice repair at the stoppage nearest the 30 minute mark.
- No trapezoid in over time.
- If a team lost a player for the duration during the first period, that player can be replaced at coaches discretion by any player who took pregame warmups in the second or later overtimes.
- Strict faceoff timing, no one gets thrown out for cheating, drop the puck and be done in 10 seconds or less.
- From the second overtime on all faceoffs not following a penalty will be in the zone of the team that took the most minor penalties in the first four periods.
- Refs waive off penalties with low potential for injury (hooking, “interference”, unsportsmanlike [verbal abuse of officials and similar], slashing the stick, … ) but strictly call real slashes, tripping, goaltender interference, high sticking and other penalties that could end someones night, season or career.
The goal of eliminating the shootout is to make sure the game ends on hockey plays. Not phantom calls, no idiotic non calls and no skills competition. The trapezoid is anti-hockey and needs to go as badly as shootout, but I don’t see it happening. The extended periods will push teams to finish the game in regulation, play to win from the puck drop, and minimize over running of time slots. Adding in players who took warmups in place of injured players means there is more opportunity to create mismatches for coaches and hence win the game.
Ideally the whole thing could be put into practice next season for every game. More reasonably, initiating it so that only games within a division saw this format the first year might be the best way to pitch it to the networks.