Images like the Detroit Free Press photo of both teams in the Michigan state final, Marquette and Orchard Lake St. Mary's, gathered at centre ice for the traditional post-championship group photo, come way too close to pure sport to have any place in Gary Bettman's world. Eight overtimes? Go to a shootout, go to 4-4, have the players' moms do a chuck-a-puck, do something -- we can't expect our fans to have to wrap their minds around a tie!
The kids had played 109 minutes (what is that -- three 15-minute periods in regulation and eight-minute overtimes?). Player safety was probably becoming a concern.
"It's unthought of," Marquette goalie Jon Nezich said. "Both teams deserved it. Both teams worked so hard."
It kind of works as an existential burn on Bettman. It's been said you could show someone the tape of an entire hockey game without the goals and they'd be hard-pressed to figure out who won. Seemingly half the games in the NHL these would have been ties in the era before 4-on-4 overtime and the shootout. The kids in Michigan kept it real.
Take last Friday, when all five games in the NHL were either 2-1 or 3-2 and all but one went to overtime or a shootout (admittedly, that's a random example). After a while, this is sort of entertaining the same way that picking up Subway on the way in to work is sort of healthy. It's not terrible for you, but it's not terribly great.
For a Canadian, reading about an eight-overtime game and a shared state title is a rush. There's chance something similar could happen here, but it's not on your mind as much now that every league of consequence has copied the NHL's tie-breaking format in the regular season instead of thinking for themselves.
(Thanks to Michael Rand from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for sending along the link.)
Eight overtimes, two champions (Detroit Free Press; via Randball)