James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

NHL to discuss longer overtime periods to deemphasize shootout

The shootout has numerous detractors and critics among NHL fans and the folks making the rules, and according to at least one reliable source, the league will be taking a good, hard look at increasing the length of overtime to place less emphasis on the skills competition.

The “Holland” that the esteemed Elliotte Friedman is referring to is the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Ken Holland. His voice is a very well respected one among his peers, so what he says carries some weight.

Regardless of how the league decides to progress with overtime, it’s likely to be viewed as a positive by the less casual hockey fans that prefer games to be decided in OT instead of the shootout.

Breakaway contests are fun and they’ve produced many-a-highlight reel goal, but at this stage it’s clear that teams are living and dying by pushing the game out of OT and into the shootout. There have been countless instances of teams clearly turtling after grabbing the game-tying goal and pushing the contest into overtime to ensure that they secure at least one point.

That tactic isn’t likely to please most the the brass around the NHL. Still, these discussions are in very premature phases.

There are various directions that the league could decide to go in here. The idea about overtime dwindling from four skaters a side to three at some point have been popular, but it’s tough to see how clean an implementation would be. The shootout is in place to please more casual fans at this point, so decreasing the number of skaters out on the ice from five to four to three across a 15 minute time span might not be the way to go.

If the NHL does come up with a preferred solution, it seems likely that they’d test it in the AHL first.

Tags: NHL NHL Rule Changes

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