Gary Thorne: Third periods should be all-out attempts to win close games, not attempts not to lose. The pressure is there for teams that need points to shut down the offense in tied third periods, especially if they have the personnel to win the shootout.
I keep thinking that the answer is to downplay the shootout, but not do away with it. How’s this sound?
Extend overtime to 10 minutes. There’s a very good chance of a goal within ten minutes. Winner gets two points, loser gets zero.
Then go to a shootout. Only — winner gets ONE point, loser gets zero. Not three points for the game, one. Strong encouragment for finishing before a shootout.
Then, add two tie-breakers to playoff seeding:
fewest overtime games: the team with the fewest overtime games wins the FIRST tie-breaker.
fewest shootout losses: the team with the fewest shootout losses wins the SECOND tie-breaker.
the third tie-breaker would then be total wins.
Instead of awarding an extra point for surviving into overtime, we remove a point for failing to win prior to the shutout. But we also make the shootout and overtime potential deal-breakers over playoff seeding. That should encourage teams to go for it (because the best way to win those first two tie-breakers is to have no overtime, much less no shootouts). And by adding five minutes to overtime and going for ten, we make the shootout fairly rare, but don’t eliminate it and go back to having ties.
Right now, we reward ties. I’m suggesting we shift to penalizing “not winning”.