The NHL General Managers are convening in Toronto for a powwow today. On the agenda is a look at how overtime is handled in today’s game. This year a couple of new ripples have been put into effect including a “dry scrape” of the ice after a 60-minute tied score. The ice-resurfacing vehicle, perhaps a Zamboni (remember that’s a brand name), scrapes the top of the ice to remove the excess snow that has accumulated during the third period. No water is applied as that would take too long to dry and the game would lose any sort of momentum. This does result in better quality ice, but involves a 2 – 3 minute wait. The GMs will have a gander at how this is going so far, they will also consider having three-on-three hockey during the overtime instead of the current four-on-four. All in an effort to avoid deciding games with a shoot-out.
If you ask me, and no one has, just leave the damned game tied. Give each team a point and go home. It worked for donkey’s years. However, if you must decide a game, if a clear winner and loser is your desire, then please decide the game by playing the game, not just one aspect of it.
The GMs should take a look at baseball. As the grand-daddy of tie breaking, baseball does it right: if the score is tied after regulation, they keep going until it is broken, but they do so by playing the very same rules all the way. There are three strikes and three outs in the 17th inning, just as there were in the seventh. They don’t play first-third and home; and they don’t have a home run derby to decide the outcome.
The NHL and NFL have opted to decide ties by playing a bastardized version of the game: four skaters against four, too much importance to the coin toss: If regular-season games are important, what’s the rush to decide them? Is there another league renting the ice/field after you?
In my humble opinion, if we are going to decide games not by playing them but by playing a part of them, or going to a shoot-out, then let’s just take all the players off the ice thereby reducing injuries due to fatigue, and determine the winner via Zamboni Races! This will cause team travel coordinators nightmares as each team will now have to transport a vehicle with them, but the fans will love it!