NHL GMs Consider Extending Overtime Period To Cut Down Need For Shootouts
Changing the structure of overtime in NHL regular-season games "might not be imminent, but continued discussions among the league's general managers show there is interest in extending the extra period to cut down on the number of shootouts," according to Stephen Whyno of the CP. Overtime was one of many of topics discussed at last night's annual GMs meeting the day after the Hockey HOF induction in Toronto. Red Wings Exec VP & GM Ken Holland said that they have been discussing "making overtime 10 minutes to cut down on shootouts 'to some degree.'" Holland proposed "five minutes of four-on-four and then three minutes of three-on-three." However, Blues President of Hockey Operations & GM Doug Armstrong and others "want simply 10 minutes of four-on-four." Holland said that it is "possible overtime gets extended to seven or eight minutes instead of 10, which he considers an improvement he could live with" (CP, 11/12). In L.A., Helene Elliott noted any proposed extension of OT "would have to be balanced against the reality that ice quality deteriorates late in games at many NHL rinks, and playing an extra 10 minutes on sub-standard ice could hurt the standard of play." Resurfacing the ice before OT "would improve playing conditions but would also extend the length of regular-season games, running afoul of TV broadcasters who have limited windows to air games and presenting a problem for fans who don’t want games to last three-plus hours" (LATIMES.com, 11/12). SPORTSNET.ca's Scott Morrison wrote as "exciting as the shootout has been, it has, in the eyes of many, also run its course." GMs, coaches and players alike are "tired of seeing too many games decided by a gimmick, however entertaining it may be, especially with playoff races so tight and the stakes so high" (SPORTSNET.ca, 11/12).
OTHER TOPICS UP FOR DEBATE: ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun noted the GMs also held a "discussion on fighting, but certainly nothing was decided Tuesday other than to talk about it again in March" during the league's three-day GMs meeting. There was talk about goalie fights, and NHL Senior Exec VP/Hockey Operations Colin Campbell confirmed the issue "will come up again" at the next GMs meeting. Some GMs still were "unclear on how the playoff format worked under the NHL's new alignment, and the league's hockey operations department cleared that up for them." NHL Dir of Officiating Stephen Walkom also presented a "hybrid icing report, as some GMs have been grumbling this season about how the new rule has been working" (ESPN.com, 11/12).
LOCKER ROOM TALK: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek notes in light of the Dolphins' bullying scandal, NHL GMs were told by league officials yesterday to "remind their own players about what behaviour will and will not be tolerated in dressing rooms." Hazing rituals long had been a "regular part of NHL locker-room culture," but Lightning VP & GM Steve Yzerman said that the era "has long since passed" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/13). Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke said, "We've never allowed hazing on any of my teams. ... No rookie initiations, no shaving, no physical abuse whatsoever." He added, "One of the forms of abuse is to make the rookies (shell out) a huge tab for a rookie dinner, where it costs them 15 to 20 grand. We have a cap of $5,000 on the rookie dinner. No rookie can pay more than $5,000. There's no physical abuse, no racial abuse, no homophobic abuse. So I'm not worried about having that situation on our team" (TORONTO SUN, 11/13). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote "bravo" to Burke for "making clear his no-hazing policy." However, the core culture "of any team's dressing room won't be proper unless the players within that room uphold expectations of common decency" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/12).