By: Jeff Riger
Before we get started can we all just admit that the way the NHL settles regular season tie games is a gimmick?
When the shootout was first brought into play by the league I was all for it. I, like a lot of other people hated seeing a game end in a tie and the thought of getting to watch a players best shot for the chance to get another point for their team was intriguing. And, it worked for a while. We all enjoyed watching Todd Bertuzzi and his slow motion spin-o-rama’s and guessing who will Mike Babcock use next when the shootout went past 3 players. But now it is just tired and boring.
We all knew it could not last forever. Everything that is not pure, like the gimmick to decide a hockey game gets stale and annoying after a while.
So I have decided to propose a new idea. I figured while the league is deciding on their new realignment plan why not discuss alternative ways to end tie games as well.
As I was watching the Wings lose to the Kings on Wednesday night I stumbled upon my new favorite, entertaining part of the game. The 5 on 3! In case you missed it, Detroit was forced to kill off back to back L.A. 2 man advantages in the 2nd period and it was really entertaining to watch. The Kings would later score their games tying goal in the 3rd period on another 5 on 3 chances and that too was fun to watch. In fact, this entire season because of new officiating there has been a tremendous amount of 2 man advantages and every time it was amused me.
So why no end a tie game like that? I do admit that this is just a temporary fix. Eventually we will get bored of the 5 on 3 too and be forced to look at another way to decide things. Remember the days when the penalty shot was so exciting? Yeah, no so much anymore because we now get to see it all the time. The same will happen to the 2 man advantage but in the beginning it will be fun.
Here is how I envision it working out; we’ll just call it “the Riger rules.”
After a tie game in the NHL at the end of regulation the normal 5 minutes of even strength overtime will be played. If the league wanted to make that extra 5 minutes 3 on 3 play, I would be all for it. But for now, let’s just imagine that play would remain 4 on 4 action.
-If a game is still tied after the 5 minutes then each team would get a 2 minute, 5 on 3 chance. Whichever teams scores the most goals in that 2 minute time frame would win the game.
-If the shorthanded team is whistled for a penalty then the team that has the 5 skaters will get to add another player making it 6 on 3 for the remainder of the time. For every penalty committed from the shorthanded team, another skater will be added for the full strength team. If a player for the full strength team commits a penalty then they would lose a skater and then it becomes 4 on 3 action.
-If the shorthanded team scores shorthanded then as a punishment the full strength team will lose the remainder of time on their 5 on 3. The shorthanded team would then start their 2 minutes of 5 on 3. If the team that scores shorthanded already has the lead, they would automatically win.
-If both teams still have the same score after the initial 2 minutes of 5 on 3 chances, then another 2 minutes would be granted to each team until a winner is determined.
So what do you think? I know rules would have to be worked out and everything would take some getting used to; however I believe this is better than the alternative, another shootout like we saw last night in San Jose.