NHL Needs To Quit Coddling Losers
This one’s been bothering me for a while, so excuse me if I sound a bit harsh.
I don’t mind the shootout – on the contrary, I think it’s pretty damn entertaining.
After sixty-five minutes of battling for pucks in the corners, momentum swings back and forth, and countless missed opportunities, your top players have the chance to steal a win for the team with a couple dazzling moves.
After all, pressure like that can really bring out the best in an athlete. (Or worst, see: Ilya Kovalchuk)
That being said, I love overtime even more. It’s infinitely better than the ass-on-the-edge-of-your-seat feeling.
In fact, I can’t even sit down during the extra stanza. I feel like I’m going to puke every time my team coughs up the puck, and breathing is an insignificant afterthought.
It doesn’t get better than this—one play ends a game.
It can be beautiful. Search “NHL overtime winner” into YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.
It can take five extra periods to decide a game.
Ultimately, I don’t really have a problem with tied games going to a shootout.
Would I like to see a slightly longer overtime during the regular season? Sure, but that’s not why I’m pissed off.
I am absolutely infuriated (and have been for years) that when a team loses in overtime or a shootout, they get a point.
Does it tighten up the standings? Of course, and who doesn’t love competition?
Is it completely absurd? Ohmygodyes.
When you were a kid, did you get a point for choking in the 9th inning of your t-ball game and giving up the game-winning home run? No, your entire team hated you and refused to share their lunch with you the entire next month at school.
When you lose, it sucks, it hurts, and it’s OVER.
You move on with life, and start preparing for the next game.
No other major sports league gives the losing team a consolation prize for making it to overtime. Only the NHL.
Ever wonder why teams dump-and-chase for the last ten minutes of the third period in a tied game? Especially inter-conference games? It’s because they rather leave with one point than none.
Is that bad sportsmanship? Not really, it’s a smart strategy.
So while awarding a pity point for an overtime loss tightens up the standings, it ultimately weakens the level of competition in tight games.
Get the puck deep, go for a line change, and take no offensive chances. Staff five guys at your blueline to thwart your opponent’s breakout.
It’s boring hockey, and the truth is people paid good money to go see two teams compete for sixty minutes. The NHL is robbing their fanbase by encouraging teams sit back and play for a tie.
Do me a favor and stop worrying about changing the overtime format.
Get rid of the consolation point and see if that doesn’t make for drastically more competitive third periods.
You win or you lose, that’s it. There’s no in between, there’s not “A” for effort, or any of that touchy-feely business.
I cringe every time I hear “at least we got a point” or “we’re happy to earn a point” after a loss. It’s an excuse for losing, and excuses don’t belong in pro sports.
After all, Herman Edwards said it best:
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