Less importance will be placed on shootout victories this upcoming season as NHL general managers look to change how tiebreakers are decided at the end of the season according to a report by ESPN.
The report states that the general managers have voted to implement a new tiebreaker system for the upcoming season that will give more consideration to teams who win games outright during regulation time or during the 5-minute overtime period instead of through the shootout. In the past, tiebreakers were first decided by most total victories of any kind – shootout victories included. This year, tiebreakers will instead be decided by most victories during regulation or overtime and will exclude shootout victories from tiebreaker considerations. However, the shootout will still stay in place for the time being as a means to determine which team is awarded two points and the win instead of one.
Implementing a rule like this helps put more emphasis on an entire team’s effort of play rather than the individual skill of any one or two players. But this ruling may also signal a shift in consciousness by the NHL general managers as they continue to look to place less and less emphasis on the shootout and more emphasis on a team’s ability to work together and win together. Another idea that has been proposed in the past would have teams going into a 5-minute 3-on-3 overtime period after the 5-minute 4-on-4 overtime period before deciding the game in a shootout. This idea seems to have gained a lot of momentum over the past several seasons and may be one of the next changes to occur for the overtime format. A 3-on-3 overtime period would be wildly exciting – perhaps more so than a shootout – but it would still place emphasis on team play.