Tuesday, January 08, 2008

An argument for longer overtime

My biggest problem with the shootout was always the fact that it was going to have far too much of an impact on the standings. As a way to eliminate ties, it certainly works, but an event formerly relegated to the all-star game now often determines who makes the playoffs and who doesn't.

And that's only going to get worse as goals become harder to come by in the NHL.

Case in point, this year's edition of the Edmonton Oilers, who if shootouts were still ties would be on pace for a 15-39-28 season.

They'd be the worst team in hockey.

In 2005-06, the shootout's inaugural year, the Oilers led the league with 16 games that went to a shootout, picked up seven more wins and finished in eighth spot in the Western Conference. Last season, the Devils led the league with 18 shootout appearances, and that produced an additional 10 wins (and a new record for Martin Brodeur).

This year, Edmonton has taken part in an incredible 19 per cent of shootouts taken, which means they're on pace for 24 appearances and around 20 bonus wins.

That's absurd.

Shootouts are actually down overall this season. In 2005-06, there was one every 8.5 games. Last season, that jumped way up to one every 7.5. Now we're at one every 9.2.

Even so, there's an easy way to limit the shootout's impact even more: Extend overtime to 10 minutes.

The hockey I grew up on in the WHL always seemed to have the 10-minute overtime, and while that meant a little longer games once in a while, you rarely went home without a winner. And now that the NHL plays overtime at 4-on-4, the higher rate of scoring over regulation play would guarantee far fewer shootouts.

That certainly makes logical sense, but just to reinforce the notion, I asked stat guru Gabe Desjardins on Friday: "How many shootouts would there have been this season with a 10-minute overtime period?"

His answer?

"Well, so far in 2007-08, there have been 27,243 seconds of overtime played, with 54 goals and 62 shootouts.

"The rate of goal scoring = 7.14 goals per 60 minutes.

"The goal-scoring rate is basically the same in each minute of OT, so if teams played 10 minutes without substantially changing their strategy, we would have had just eight shootouts this season!"

Exactly.

What's the worry here? The extra ice clean? Thirteen percent of games needed extra zamboni work last season already because of the shootout.

Overtime's generally the most exciting part of an NHL game; why not give the fans more of it, and spare us a large portion of the 150+ deke competitions?

UPDATE I've now got a look at how the standings this season would work out with shootout wins counting only as ties.
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57 Comments:

At 10:45 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

I like your idea here, James. I have no problem with shootouts, but overtime play is a better representation of the game overall IMO (and thus a better way to decide a crucial point).

 
At 10:56 AM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous oiler said...

I agree with you on how shootouts distort not only the outcome of a game, but also the final standings.

But what if there was a better option?

What if a tie was ended in a way more similar to how college football is decided?

I've been promoting for a while now the idea that each team trades 5 on 3, 1 minute power plays until the game is decided.

 
At 10:57 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Understood the concept of having a winner each game, but never liked the way its done. Shootouts are anticlimactic in our opinion
2) Adding time to a game would of course go against what Mr. Bettman has wanted; to shorten games and make them more TV friendly. Also not sure if the players would go for this change without a concession from the NHL

 
At 11:00 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Even if all 140 or so games that go beyond five minutes overtime went a full additional five minutes, that would add just 700 minutes of play to a 75,000 minute season.

We're talking about the difference of 30 seconds a game.

 
At 11:14 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger JavaGeek said...

so% = (1-[GF/HR]/3600)^(seconds)

SO%.5min = (1-7.14/3600)^300
= 55%
SO%.10min = (1-7.14/3600)^600
= 30%

What would you say if there were 62 goals and 54 shootout, that doubling the OT will create -8 shootouts! Remember there are half as many teams are playing in the second half of OT, so goals would be cut if half, so 54 + 27 = 81 OT goals. Which still leaves 35 shootouts. Or you can use the simple equations above.

 
At 11:26 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

I have been a fan of the shootout since day one but I really like your idea of extending the overtime. Too often, it seems teams are just putting it in neutral for the 5 minutes (especially 4 on 4 play) and waiting for the shootout. If this could decrease shootouts (but not get rid of them altogether) and increase the level of play, I am all for it!

 
At 11:27 AM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Cole said...

I think your missing the big picture. The fact that the Oilers are where they are in the standings are a product of the shootout (even though they aren't in a playoff position, they have way more points than they should). A shootout is never an accurate representation of how a game has played out. It defeats the purpose of playing 65 minutes. It's a gimmick to attract fans. I say any chance to reduce the number of shootouts, and there affect on the standings, is a good thing. Be it 8 shootouts remaining or 35 remaining. 10 minutes of overtime is a good idea.

 
At 11:52 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger gwyshynski said...

Good post, James.

I thought the NHL should have given a year or two of 4-on-4, 10-12 minute OTs a chance under the new rules before trotting out the unicorn at the circus to end games.

The 4-on-4 is, in many cases, the most exciting moments of the game, not only due to the speed and offense but because of what's on the line: an extra point, and avoiding the joke of the shootout.

I hoped I'd see the tide turn against shootouts at some point, and by and large the fans I speak to regard it as pedestrian and, as some of the other comments here said, unfair within the context of the standings.

 
At 11:54 AM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

Remember that the shootout takes time in itself (personally I often find it tedious). All of the games that ended in the second 5 minutes of OT would probably be shorter than they would have been if they had just gone to a shootout.

Concession to the players: everyone gets a 0.8% pay raise?

 
At 12:03 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Jason Savage said...

I agree with your assessment, James. Although I enjoy the shootout, I think a 10 minute OT makes sense and if things don't get resolved in those extra 5 minutes, have the shootout. It will make it even more exciting, IMO.

 
At 12:05 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

It would be interesting to see what the standings would have been last year if there were no shootouts and those games had just ended in a tie.

I'm all for getting rid of the shootout. 5 minutes of 4 on 4 + 5 minutes of 3 on 3 or 10 minutes of 4 on 4 would be much better. If you tie you tie.

Also make the nets an inch or two bigger.

 
At 12:25 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Ebscer said...

I would be all for this. A shootout is better than a tie, but doesn't compare to overtime.

I do think the four on four hockey is kindof odd though, and would prefer to see five v five in overtime as well...

 
At 12:33 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Jeremy said...

This makes way too much sense...which means there's no way they'll do it.

 
At 12:50 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Kel said...

I agree with JavaGeek. Doubling the length of OT would not reduce SO nearly as much as James thought in his blog entry. I'm still all for increasing OT length, and perhaps making it 3-on-3 in the last 5 minute. I'd rather see teams play with empty nets than shootouts.

 
At 1:00 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Kizz said...

You're all (except Cole) coming at this from a hockey loving perspective. These decisions have been made from a marketing perspective.

The shootout is a bite sized, recognizable, high stakes portion of hockey (just like the Mighty Ducks movie!) to reel in new fans/new money. It's a bonus that it makes the standings a toss up as well so the casual not-quite-hooked hockey fan will be kept on the edge of his or her seat for the whole season since a clear roster for the play-offs will be based in large part on luck and goalies with very specific skills.

For everyone here your idea is glorious and smart and would cement the integrity of the standings while being more exciting to watch. It'll never happen because it won't put more butts in seats.

 
At 1:08 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Keith said...

God, a college football style overtime would be an even bigger embarrassment than the shootout is.

The best solution is what we had before: W-L-T.

Personally, I would be shocked if a single, solitary new fan was created as a result of the shootout.

That said, it is here to stay, and really, the best thing the league can do is to stop turning OT/SO games into a giant reward. Three points for a regulation win, 2/1 for an OTW/OTL and zero for a regulation loss.

If we are going to use the incredibly silly logic that a loser in OT deserves something for losing, then I have to ask why the winner in OT deserves full credit for winning? Make all games worth the same.

 
At 1:11 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I agree with JavaGeek. Doubling the length of OT would not reduce SO nearly as much as James thought in his blog entry.

Using any estimate, there would be dramatically fewer shootouts, which is the whole point of the exercise.

So far, we've had 68 shootouts this year, and by any statistical point of view, that would be (at least) cut in half. Instead of averaging five shootouts per team, we're down to two or two and a half, and the outliers like the Oilers won't have anywhere near 13 of the things at this point.

 
At 1:38 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Pookie said...

If the NJ Devils deliberately tanking a shootout to keep the Leafs out of the playoffs can't convince the league to abandon the stupid shootout, nothing will. That said, a 10 minute overtime is genius! Even better? Go back to ties.

 
At 1:42 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

More than anything, the SO has become a little routine. Remember back in October of '05 when they were still special and new?

Yeah.

The SO has not only made itself dull and routine, it's made the penalty shot dull and routine. By making it a relative rarity, it re-introduces the element of excitement that's often been lacking the last year or so.

 
At 1:44 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

So far, we've had 68 shootouts this year, and by any statistical point of view, that would be (at least) cut in half.

I'm about to get pedantic, so I'll state up front that I really agree with the main point of this post. Extending the overtimes would reduce the number of shootouts some, and anything that would do that is a good idea, up to and including the on-ice execution of players that fail to score in OT.

However, it is incorrect to say that any statistical analysis would show that the expectation is that shootouts would be cut in half. I suspect that this is a much better guess than the linear approach used in the article you cite, which is just an embarrassment.

Where you would be correct is if, in addition to half of OT games ending in the first five minutes, all OT games have the same probability of ending within five minutes. If we could make the second assumption, my guess is that you would be pretty close. We'd have a pretty straightforward exponential distribution. We'd be left trying to decide whether something like whether fatigue affects goalies more than shooters, or whether the ice conditions would decrease scoring. Stuff that I suspect wouldn't make much difference.

However, I don't think that that's an assumption we can make. Some teams are more likely to score, or be scored upon, within a five minute OT than other teams are. The first five minutes of OT will end a disproportionate number of games where the goal scoring environment is higher, leaving a disproportionate number of low scoring games going to the second five minutes.

I would expect the second five minutes to decide a significantly smaller proportion of games than the first five minutes does. How much smaller? I have no idea. I'll just say "somewhat."

Still, it's a good idea, because shootouts make the baby Jesus cry.

 
At 1:47 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous far away said...

I don't mind the shootout, I think it's cool. Increasing the overtime to 10 minutes would also be great because overtime is exciting and 10 minutes is long enough to make teams fight more than just hold on for the shootout.

Because I think that's a major problem: there is no incentive for teams to win games in 60 minutes towards the end of the season unless you're playing against teams you are battling for a spot. If a team fighting for the 8th place meets Detroit and is tied with a few minutes left in the third period, they have no incentive to move their asses: just to wait and guarantee at least a point without risking anything by attacking too much. The best way for this to be solved would be 3-2-1-0. The right incentives for teams to win in 60 minutes and not in 65, 70 or shootout. All games would be worth the same and teams who fought enough for a tie after 60 minutes would get at least a point. That's why I don't like the 2-0 point system some have suggested. Now that would be unfair: going to a shootout, which doesn't require the same skills as you need to win a hockey game, and walk away with nothing.

 
At 1:49 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger godot10 said...

Better solution is three points for a regulation win. Two points for an OT win. One point for an OT loss. No points for a regulation loss.

Nobody was complaining the last two seasons when Dallas was winning all the shootouts.

 
At 2:00 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I've been arguing there would be too many shootouts since before there were shootouts. It just so happens the Oilers are proving that correct, but it could have been anyone.

 
At 2:28 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

this post is dead on James, and something a number of fans have wanted for a long time.

Bottom line is that the NHL should be doing everything it can to ensure that a team game end through team play.

 
At 2:51 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Chemmy said...

Three points for a regulation win.
Two points for an overtime win.
One point for an overtime loss.

Tada!

 
At 2:52 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger grease trap said...

I think you're missing something big here:

Yes, the Oilers made the playoffs based on shootouts.

But

Um..didn't they also almost win the Stanley Cup?

Does that sound like a team that shouldn't have been there?

 
At 3:01 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

They should replace the shootout with the 4-corner target-shooting contest. In that universe, Marc Crawford would be a genius.

 
At 3:02 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

This year, Edmonton has taken part in an incredible 19 per cent of shootouts taken, which means they're on pace for 24 appearances and around 20 bonus wins.

What's with the term "bonus win"? Are the Oilers getting points that aren't available to other teams?

 
At 3:53 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Anshu said...

I'm also an advocate for the 3-2-1-0 point distribution method, and its encouraging to see so many others feel the same way.

Is that a more likely alternative than extending OT? Maybe we should start a petition or something, get some media attention, and hope the public opinion mommentum convinces the league governors to make the change.

 
At 4:10 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

What's with the term "bonus win"? Are the Oilers getting points that aren't available to other teams?

Specifically, they're not available to Philadelphia, due to the anti-Flyer conspiracy.

 
At 4:19 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Loser Chris said...

Somebody needs to take the time and redo the standings as if there were no shootouts. That's the best way to see how big of an impact there is on the standings. I've been wanting to do that for ages but never had the time. Maybe this discussion will finally motivate me enough...

 
At 4:21 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

Specifically, they're not available to Philadelphia, due to the anti-Flyer conspiracy.

I think that the Flyers would much rather have a "just finishing my check" contest instead of a shootout. They would be unstoppable.


*runs for cover*

 
At 4:39 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous phillie said...

Shootouts aren't for hockey geeks, they're for the fans. That's who wants them and that's why they should stay.

 
At 4:44 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger sacamano said...

"Case in point, this year's edition of the Edmonton Oilers, who if shootouts were still ties would be on pace for a 15-39-28 season"

This is such a bullshit argument. You can't simply convert shootout wins to ties. Teams play differently when there are different rewards available. We have no clue what Edmonton's record would be if the old format was used. Would they play the same way in the last period? In overtime?


. . . This year, Edmonton has taken part in an incredible 19 per cent of shootouts taken, which means they're on pace for 24 appearances and around 20 bonus wins.


As Grabia points out, this is another bullshit statement. It isn't a "bonus" in any sense of the term.

"I think your missing the big picture. The fact that the Oilers are where they are in the standings are a product of the shootout (even though they aren't in a playoff position, they have way more points than they should)."

Yet another bullshit statement. they have exactly the number of points they should have because that's the way points are handed out.

Look, I get it if people don't like the shootout, but Edmonton isn't cheating, or getting points they shouldn't, or getting bonus points. They are good at shootouts and, very likely, play overtime and the end of the third period accordingly.

 
At 4:56 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

My argument is that the shootout distorts the standings from what I believe they should be. Of course their record wouldn't be 15-39-28 — has any team ever had a record that looked like that? — but what it does is separate regulation wins from shootout wins.

It's an extreme way of pointing out just how dramatically the shootout has contributed to where the Oilers are in the standings. (And that's a bad thing.)

It isn't a "bonus" in any sense of the term.

I can call it a unicorn or circus point if you like. There are probably a variety of other names that would fit.

 
At 5:27 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Thunderbirds Are Now said...

First of all, the Oilers are not on pace for 20 bonus wins, but 20 bonus points (10 bonus wins). Further, those points don't come at the expense of other teams, rather they're gifted from the League in the same way a Banana Republic might pay off its debts by printing more money.

It also depends on your perspective. Who gets the bonus point? With 11 SO wins do the Oilers currently have 5 1/2 bonus wins because they could score in overtime, or have they given 5 1/2 wins to their opponents (mostly conference rivals) because they couldn't get the job done in regulation?

Either way, it's premature to discuss tweaking the OT/SO format until our Banana Hockey League fixes its ridiculous point system. Each bonus point issued by the league essentially dilutes the value of a win/point for all other teams, if ever so slightly, making it impossible to compare point totals between seasons (without adjusting for bonus point inflation).

 
At 6:22 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Cole said...

Look, I get it if people don't like the shootout, but Edmonton isn't cheating, or getting points they shouldn't, or getting bonus points. They are good at shootouts and, very likely, play overtime and the end of the third period accordingly.

Nobody is saying Edmonton is Cheating, But it seems like shootouts aren't even a real part of the game. Nobody drafts players because of there shootout capabilities. Nobody trades for a Shootout Specialist. No Playoff Game is decided by a Shootout. So why is who gets into the playoffs effected so much by the shootout? As stated earlier, A gimmicky marketing ploy to attract the new-fan.

 
At 6:23 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

here is good idea how about we dont give a point to a team that loses a game in ot or in the circus

 
At 6:49 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Hawerchuk said...

Javageek is missing a detail, which is that the scoring rate increases as OT goes on.

What I told James somewhat imprecisely is that the distribution of OT goals appears to be uniform. [We're dealing with small sample sizes here, so we can't be sure.]

A straightforward exponential distribution underestimates the number of games that end in a 5-minute OT and I believe it seriously underestimates the number of games that would end in a 10-minute OT. I happen to think that fatigue and eventual line mismatches in regular season games are more significant than we think.

But this is all really just conjecture about what this distribution looks like because nobody plays 10-minute OTs.

 
At 7:08 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous Keith said...

Actually, the Oilers are getting points they shouldn't, but that isn't the fault of the Oilers. It is the fault of the NHL itself. The Oilers have simply been the net largest beneficiary of the bonus point system post-lockout.

The single largest problem with the shootout is that it defeats everything that is hockey. By its very nature, it brings the mighty low, and props the weak up. Depth, teamwork, coaching all go out the window. Your shutdown line, gone. Special teams, irrelevant. Defensive systems and offensive schemes, meaningless. Teamwork, gone.

The "win" is determined by four individuals on each side. Throw in a little luck, and the result is that the better team often doesn't win. The shootout is the NHL's great random number generator.

It then becomes nearly impossible to respect the Oilers for all of those shootout "wins". That is a hockey team with eight hockey wins. that's it. For the person stating nobody complained when the Stars were "winning" all their games in the shootout, you are dead wrong. A lot of people were complaining, so stop flattering yourself in assuming this is all anti-Oiler bias.

An overtime loss point is a bonus for failure. But so too is a shootout win point. You failed to win a hockey game, but the league hands out a point for winning a coin flip.

 
At 7:44 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Scott said...

Why do you think a shoot-out is a coin flip? I think that it is an excercise where a certain set of skills will help you win. Is there luck involved? Yes. But luck is also involved in the normal course of a hockey game. We don't award points for hitting the most posts, even though that would drastically effect a team's record. The shoot-out uses many of the same basic skills as hockey but reduces their application to an individual level to ensure that the game ends. The shoot-out may not be the best way to decide games, but frankly, if the stated goal of the league were to balance out the luck, they'd have a lot more to work out than shoot-outs. It would seem that the goal of the league must be something else. Perhaps, making people excited about NHL hockey. If one accepts that the shoot-out is a part of NHL hockey, then I think it is fair to say they have been successful. Why do you think this is a bad goal?

 
At 8:40 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger grease trap said...

If it were luck, then the Oilers should be buying every goddam lottery ticket on the planet.

And I see no one has addressed the fact that the Oilers were the Western Conference Champions and one Goaltender injury away from winning the Stanley Cup in 06/07

 
At 9:03 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

And I see no one has addressed the fact that the Oilers were the Western Conference Champions and one Goaltender injury away from winning the Stanley Cup in 06/07

Who cares? The Avs went 15-2-2 last year at the end of the season. Doesn't that sound like a team that was a playoff contender? Maybe they would have won the cup if they could have squeaked out an extra shootout win. I don't think all that has a lot to do with the fact that a shootout is a dumb way to determine the winner of a hockey game. "Keith" a couple posts up did a great job outlining why it's a glorified coin flip.

 
At 10:32 PM, January 08, 2008, Blogger The Gate To The Groin For Yannick Bertrand said...

It's just depressing to think of the journey a great idea has to take to go from blog post to NHL regulation. Oh right, it doesn't.

/emo

 
At 11:26 PM, January 08, 2008, Anonymous MikeP said...

It's funny, I remember the very same sorts of conversations when it was decided that there would be an overtime period at all. "Teams will just play for the tie", so on and so on.

Why not just get rid of overtime altogether? 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, every game is precisely 60 minutes on the ice, and be done with it.

If you're going to talk about bonus points, those 3 point regulation wins are it, and the 2 points for a win outside of regulation (be it OT or SO) is next.

You can say that teams don't trade for shootout specialists, but I think we can safely say they don't trade for players who are good specifically at 4 on 4 hockey, yet for every shootout there's been 5 minutes of 4 on 4 as well.

 
At 12:01 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

It would be interesting to see what the standings would have been last year if there were no shootouts and those games had just ended in a tie.


Because I am a complete and total nerd (and was futzing with the numbers anyway), this is what the points values for each team would be at the end of last season.

The teams are in alphabetical order by division, because that is the order I like. :)

The first number after each team is the number of points they actually finished last season with, the second number is if all shootout decisions were counted as ties, and the third number is if all games tied after regulation were counted as ties.

(I've got the standings written out, but don't want this to be an enormous monster of a comment.)

Western conference:
Chicago - 71 - 66 - 63
Columbus - 73 - 67 - 63
Detroit - 113 - 111 - 108
Nashville - 110 - 104 - 101
St. Louis - 81 - 75 - 71

Calgary - 96 - 93 - 91
Colorado - 95 - 90 - 87
Edmonton - 71 - 68 - 67
Minnesota - 104 - 94 - 87
Vancouver - 105 - 100 - 88

Anaheim - 110 - 106 - 101
Dallas - 107 - 98 - 92
Los Angeles - 68 - 64 - 62
Phoenix - 67 - 62 - 60
San Jose - 107 - 105 - 104

Eastern conference:
New Jersey - 107 - 97 - 94
Islanders - 92 - 84 - 82
Rangers - 94 - 85 - 82
Philadelphia - 56 - 55 - 52
Pittsburgh - 105 - 95 - 89

Boston - 76 - 67 - 63
Buffalo - 113 - 103 - 98
Montreal - 90 - 84 - 82
Ottawa - 105 - 103 - 101
Toronto - 91 - 87 - 83

Atlanta - 97 - 90 - 83
Carolina - 88 - 88 - 82
Florida - 86 - 84 - 81
Tampa Bay - 93 - 83 - 78
Washington - 70 - 69 - 65

Gives some idea of which teams picked up the most ground by getting post-tie points.

 
At 12:23 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger Scott said...

I don't think you need to shootout luck to the Avs already formidable (and in my opinion much luckier) goalpost luck they had at the end of last season. From a post by Vic Ferrari at Irreverant Oil Fans:

"Last year's poster children for this phenomenon were the Avalanche, who in spite of being a poor team in the first half of the season, had hit one more post than they had save them. Then they went on a ridiculous tear that saw them get saved by the iron regularly, a whopping 19 more times than they clanged the bell themselves. That valiant dash for the last playoff berth simply wouldn't have happened if not for the significant interference of the goalpost gods."

Why is the shoot-out dumb luck and number of goalposts hit not relevant? How many points a team gets in the shoot-out is not the only way they can be lucky. Further, the Oilers are doing particularly well in the shoot-out largely because Mathieu Garon is actually really good at them. He's almost certainly outperforming what would be a long-term average, but I think it's unfair to characterize his efforts in winning all of his shoot-outs this year as dumb luck. He's not sitting there flipping heads nineteen times out of twenty-one.

 
At 12:27 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger grease trap said...

"Who cares?"

-nick

Well, Nick, I would guess 28 or 29 other teams might.

What's your point?

I was addressing the myth that teams that do well in the shootout somehow don't "deserve" to get into the playoffs because it doesn't reflect true excellence. The Oilers are used as an example, but the example falls apart when the same team comes within one game of winning the Stanley cup. The playoffs, or Second Season are far more gruelling than the regular season and there are no shootouts to determine a winner.

Using the Oilers is just a bad example to try to prove the "non-shootout" point.

 
At 12:35 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Nowhere do I say that teams that are good at the shootout are somehow bad teams. Nowadays in the league, there are 20+ clubs that could all be considered contenders in the same way the Oilers were in 2006, but the argument I'm brining up here is 'how big of a role should the shootout play in determining who gets to compete in the playoffs?'

I'd like it to be as small as possible, which would mean fewer shootout wins and less of an impact made on the regular season standings by the shootout.

And that would affect the Oilers.

 
At 12:40 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

The oilers could be good at balancing sticks on their noses, it doesn't mean that they should have a playoff spot because of it.

Detroit won the president's trophy in 06 and then lost in the first round. Does that mean that "just because a team wins the presidents trophy doesn't mean they deserve to be in the playoffs"

The point is that regardless of what happens in the offseason, how you get there shouldn't be decided by something as arbitrary as a shootout.

 
At 1:41 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger Scott said...

"The point is that regardless of what happens in the offseason, how you get there shouldn't be decided by something as arbitrary as a shootout."

...or goal-post luck.
...or injury luck.
...or which team travels the most.
...or which division a team plays in.

A lot of things go into what helps a team make the playoffs (the Oilers lost a lot more overtimes than they won in 2006, so if the OT win is the bonus point, it would seem likely to me the 2006 Oilers would have made the playoffs anyway, so it doesn't strike me as a very good example). The shoot-out happens to be one that entertains a lot of fans. The schedule also has a big effect, but the NHL isn't changing it because it's unfair. They're changing it because they think a different schedule will get more people watching NHL hockey. Would reducing the number of shoot-outs have this effect?

Also, what rules of hockey (or any other sport for that matter) aren't arbitrary?

 
At 3:43 AM, January 09, 2008, Anonymous Rod said...

Man, shootouts are getting a bad rap. Granted, they don't perfectly reflect team aspects of the game, but each team has 65 minutes to win the game as a team. For a regular season game, that's long enough. Still tied after 65 minutes?...Decide it with a shootout. Bonus is, the shootout is fun to watch.

I should probably end there, but I'm not smart enough to do that. ;)

While shootouts may not reflect the team game enough for everyone, they're not devoid of team factors. The Oilers don't get to keep Gagner in the press box for 65 minutes, and then parachute him in for the shootout. Team members are involved. It's not just a luck factor, like say the, the NFL. The impact of a coin flip on winning OT in the NFL is huge. In a 16 game season. Or even in the playoffs. Yet the NHL has a problem with the shootout in the regular season? Give me a break.

 
At 9:22 AM, January 09, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

The Oilers don't get to keep Gagner in the press box for 65 minutes, and then parachute him in for the shootout.

Actually, I seem to remember a game in which Petr Klima was pretty much in the press box for around 90 minutes, and then parachuted in to score the winning goal... Seriously, there already exists a class of player that plays less than 5 minutes per game, and no OT.

Personally (as I said earlier), I find the shootout to be tedious, and unsatisfactory. I'd rather watch 1-on-1 OT where at least the players are skating hard and competing for the puck.

 
At 10:19 AM, January 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the issue is the impact overtime has on the standings, the easiest (and I say, best) solution would be to change the point system to a "3-2-1 or none" system. In this way, shootouts would only count as a point, thus reducing thier significance in the standings.

The players will say that the 5 extra minutes on the ice could potentially create opportunities for players to get hurt. Couple that argument the fact that the season is long enough as it is, and the players have a point.

But reducing the value of the shootout to only a point makes the most sense.

 
At 10:46 AM, January 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most exciting part of any game should be the near the end of regulation. The overtime should'nt really happen. Remember you're only paying for 60 minutes of hockey. Make regulation wins 3 points and the problem is solved. Teams will kick ass if tied late in regulation. Sure some teams will sit on a lead in regulation too, but I hate to see teams tied late "collude" to tie so teams can pick up a "point". That's so "NHL".

 
At 10:49 AM, January 09, 2008, Anonymous Keith said...

"Nowhere do I say that teams that are good at the shootout are somehow bad teams."

Except that, oddly enough, some of the worst teams over the past three years have been some of the best at the shootout, and vice-versa.

Anaheim, Calgary, Detroit, Ottawa are amongst the worst teams in the shootout.

Yet Edmonton, Los Angeles and Columbus are among the best.

Just goes to show how random the shootout is.

 
At 2:16 PM, January 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If shootout results were truly random, as some suggest, then over time all teams (despite player turnover) would have the same shootout success. But I don't think that's the case.

On the other hand, of course a bad team could have a goaltender & a few individual skaters who excelled at shootouts. Sam Gagner can't play a regular shift, but he's very successful at shootouts (so far).

 

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