Regardless of your personal feelings towards the shootout, it looks like it will be here to stay. It isn’t the best way to end a hockey game after 65 grueling minutes, but it is very fun to watch. We will never see continuous OT in the regular season, although I think that would draw more fans than the shootout because of “this shot can end the game” feeling every 30 seconds. However, the NHL is taking steps to reduce the influence the shootout has on the standings.
Over the weekend, the NHL ruled to adjust the rules for tiebreakers. Originally, the first tiebreaker was number of wins. This has now been changed to number of regulation/OT wins. The second tiebreaker will be overall wins. This gives more incentive for teams to win in regulation/OT, which should make the last 10 minutes before the shootout much more exciting. This doesn’t address the bigger issue of the three point games, but this is at least a step in the right direction.
What this does do, however, is make it more difficult for the casual fan to follow the standings. This will either add another column in the already crowded W/L records (W-Reg/OT W-L-OTL), or it will be available online somewhere. It is an interesting situation though, as this decision is clearly designed for the best interest of the NHL, but it actually may deter some casual fans from becoming hardcore fans. Regardless, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
On a more humorous note, for those following NHL players on Twitter, Cam Janssen of St. Louis and Krys Barch of Dallas have scheduled a fight via Twitter for their October 16th game. I wonder how soon before there’s a “Cam Janssen” rule, in which you cannot schedule fights via social media. I give it 10 hours after their October 16 fight.