Monday, May 05, 2008


People seem prone to amplifying the problems with something to the extent that they forget all the good stuff.

There is bound to be a renewal of the debate about altering playoff overtime any time a game goes so late into the night that you're falling asleep because there's nothing to change the channel to during the intermissions. It's kind of obligatory to get into this subject. Chuck Swirsky was calling for shootouts in the playoffs on The Fan 590 after the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks went four overtimes last night/this morning. James Mirtle has started a thread.

Hockey fans, to a person, all have found memories of marathon games -- staying up until all hours, not wanting to risk going to sleep before there was a winner and then finally, having the game-winner seemingly come out of nowhere, yet seem like it was foreshadowed.

(Brenden Morrow, in the fourth overtime? That made sense.)

Keeping that out of the game would be bassackwards; it just doesn't rank with wanting to make sure the game is kept short so it's a neat little package for television.

Marty Turco's bicycle-kick save on Patrick Marleau last night wouldn't seem quite the same if it just preserved the game long enough to go to a shootout.

It's problematic when fans come to expect double overtimes and triple overtimes, the way many did in boring, pre-lockout hockey. Neither has been that common during the past couple seasons. Having a shootout or 4-on-4 would just lead to teams biding their time in overtime instead of going for it like Dallas and San Jose did last night.

Anyway, there's a post up at Epic Carnival about the ritual of predicting the overtime goal scorer, and what it feels like to get it right.


Andrew Bucholtz said...

I love long overtimes: sure, you have to stay up for a while, but it makes the game much more memorable in retrospect. It also gives the "hardcore" hockey fans who stay up for the whole game some bragging rights. My favorite memory from last year's playoffs is Kelly Hrudey Telestrating the beer cup pyramid one Vancouver fan made on the rim behind the glass during the epic Canucks-Stars overtime clash. Besides, going to shootouts in the playoffs would completely ruin them, as success in shootouts has little correlation to success in games (just look at Edmonton this year). You're right as well that most teams would just defend and hope for a shootout, making things extremely boring. I can handle shootouts in the regular season, as you can't have unlimited overtime and they're better than a tie, but they have no place in hockey playoffs. Long games may lose some viewers, but they're far more memorable in retrospect and thus are more valuable than a quick shootout fix (in my view, anyway).

Robert C. said...

Only ones I hear complain about the overtimes are people covering the game. Like some of the guys on Sportsnet last year after the Canucks-Stars game. I don't get paid to watch these games so when I hear them complain I always laugh. I watch the games for nothing.
I know some fans in Nfld who watched the entire Canucks-Stars last year till almost 6am local time. So people in other time zones should relax. :)