Few things in hockey are worse than when a thrilling three-on-three overtime gives way to a shootout. Even Connor McDavid, the best player in the NHL, hates to decide games that way.
McDavid told Sportsnet’s ‘Tim and Friends’ that he would be open to extending the overtime period from five minutes to 10. That may raise concerns about player safety, but falling in a shootout is always a tough pill to swallow.
“I would like that,” McDavid said about the idea of extended overtime. “No one loves the shootout. It’s a crappy way to finish a game. At the end of the day, it’s about the players’ health and safety. It’s a long season. The overtime taxes a lot of guys. Making that longer could have some effects there, but I agree with you in the sense that no one wants to see the game end in a shootout.”
Following the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL wanted to end ties and create a more exciting fan experience. The league chose to do that by implementing shootouts in the 2005-06 season, and while it did provide some intrigue for a few years, the novelty has worn off.
The approval rating for shootouts has only fallen more sharply since the NHL switched to five minutes of three-on-three overtime in the 2015-16 season. Going from frantic end-to-end action to a glorified skills competition can be jarring, and it can leave fans and players feeling unsatisfied.
Thus far, 45 games in the 2022-23 season have ended in shootouts. If the league did decide to extend the overtime session, it could reduce that number while increasing entertainment value.