If I was in charge of things, I'd make a few changes...As would we all, I suspect.
First of all, the elephant in the room: the shootout. I think the majority of fans like the shootout--hey, I kind of like it, too. I don't like seeing games decided by what amounts to a skills competition between two players at a time, though. And you know what? I really, really, really, really like overtime. The best part of the playoffs for me is the real, honest-to-goodness overtime. Not just five minutes of one team playing conservatively because they feel they have a better chance in the shootout (usually followed by said shootout). No, that's rubbish.
I want it all on the line. I want every shift to matter. I want every shot to have the potential to decide the game. And I want more than a measly five minutes of it. I think the recent rule change so that only non-shootout wins count for a tiebreaker is a small step in the right direction, but only the first, small step.
To summarize, shootouts displease me because:
1. Shootouts basically eliminate good, exciting overtime from the regular season.
2. Shootouts use a skills competition to decide a team game.
3. Shootouts cause numerous 3-point games.
And this bring me to the second issue: the points system. Three-point games are rubbish. They mess everything up, and they make it so that a ".500 team" is actually quite a bit worse than average. This may not annoy everyone, but it certainly annoys me. It also makes teams, records, and achievements of the shootout era look better than they are.
Here's some ideas I have that I think could be implemented without too much pain.
Drop the shootout altogether, and lengthen overtime. I know that indefinite overtime is not really feasible, as much as I would like it, but I think a sudden-death "4th period" of longer than five minutes would be doable. I would aim for ten to twenty minutes...ideally a full twenty, but I would still rather have ten minutes of overtime than five minutes of overtime followed by the shootout. Then, if it's tied after the 4th period, it's a tie. I know ties aren't the most popular, but I would rather deal with ties than third points.
-or- Reform Two:
Leave the format alone, except for two changes. First, OT is sudden death, winner take all. Second, have shootout wins only count as a tiebreaker. Winning team gets a Shootout Win worth one point, losing team gets a Shootout Loss worth one point. Shootout record is the first or second tiebreaker...I think this option places about the proper amount of emphasis on shootouts (very little), but still keeps them, and makes them still count for something. In addition, (and perhaps more importantly) this completely eliminates the three-point game.
Reform Three: I'd make division leaders only guaranteed a playoff spot, but not guaranteed in the top-3. I hate this rule. "You're better than this other team, but just based on the division you're placed in, they get a higher seed." Give division leaders something else. Winning the division should be rewarded, but not unfairly. I think the current system is quite unfair.
Next, we just have some minor issues.
Reform Four: I'd get rid of the trapezoid, get rid of the puck-over-the-glass delay of game penalty, consider automatic icing, and maybe try to actually introduce consistency into discipline.
28 votes total