A lot of talk around the water cooler since Sunday’s Motown marathon has been the future of playoff overtime. TSN’s Bob McKenzie says a proposed rule change that would see 4-on-4 after the first overtime is completed fell one vote short a while back. (Sigh)… No, no, no, no!!! The last thing the NHL needs to tweak is playoff overtime. There are other things that could be addressed… but playoff overtime!? Please, no.
The only positive I can see coming out of this is that the TV directors/executives will be happy that games would have less of a chance of going past double OT like Sunday’s did. I was actually quite surprised that NBC canceled their Rolex Equestrian show in favor of overtimes #2 & 3 from Detroit… I’m glad that game was scheduled for Sunday instead of Saturday!
Playoff overtime is something you DO NOT mess with! For players, it’s all about mental toughness, a battle of will, and the grind to keep the body going for your 19 brothers. For the fans, it’s the most excitement you could every witness in person. I was at the Sharks/Predators double OT game a couple years ago. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, and the fans went crazy in anticipation of a goal. The winning goal can either send 19,000 fans into a frenzy… or make them so quiet that you can hear the guys from the road team hoopin’ and hollerin’.
This is the backbone to the annual excitement of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Every year, there’s sure to be those one or two games that continue into the wee hours of the morning that we’ll all remember. Last year’s 4-overtime game between San Jose & Dallas was incredible; the Canucks/Stars 4OT affair a couple years ago was also memorable. And how about Game 5 of the finals last spring?? That was 40+ minutes of action where the Cup could have been won by the Wings! But all those hopes went down the drain when Petr Sykora called his shot and scorched a wrister past Osgood.
My eyes do not come off of the TV during overtime because you never know what will happen, or how long it will go. One mistake I made this postseason, however, was trying to sneak in a quick trip to the men’s room before OT started in Game 1 between Chicago & Calgary. I got back, and the game was over; it took all of 12 seconds for Havlat to score the winner.
I know I’m making it sound like the NHL is going to a shootout to decide a tied game after regulation. But 4-on-4 action after 20 minutes of extra time would all but eliminate classic marathon games that hockey fans will always cherish. How about that Flyers/Pens game when Keith Primeau scored the winner at like 2 or 3 in the morning?? It was the FIFTH overtime.
Marathon playoff games give most adults an awesome excuse for getting to work late the next morning. Or arriving to school late and trying to explain to the school secretary that my alarm did not go off (true story!).
The list can go on and on about the classic marathon games we’ve seen through the years. But if the league implements this 4-on-4 crap in double OT, that list will not get any longer. Gary Bettman & company have made some positive changes to the game since the lockout that has kept it fresh and exciting. But don’t go down this road, Gary. Just because some of these games stay up past your bedtime doesn’t mean you have to take something away from your passionate fans.
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