Three NHL Overtime Ideas

  • If you can’t get rid of the shootout, at least add a 2nd OT with only players who didn’t play in the 1st OT.

    Third- and fourth-line players don’t usually get ice time during OT. Many top-line players on the other hand presumably tend to prefer a shootout to a 2nd OT period, because it’s less exhausting and injury-risky for them over the course of a long season. I assume this is part of the reason why the shootout hasn’t yet been abolished, despite the fact that OT is far more exciting and less gimmicky than shootouts are. The league should therefore consider introducing a 2nd OT period in which only players who did not touch the ice in the 1st OT are allowed to play. 


  • If you are going to keep the shootout (rather than go on to a 3rd OT, etc.), make it a ‘1 on 1’ shootout, instead of giving each team a 3-attempt minimum.

    The shootout currently gives each team a minimum of 3 shooters. It should reduce this to 1: if you score on the first shot and the other team doesn’t, you win. This would make the shootout faster and more suspenseful, as opposed to the current shootout format which is usually fairly boring and anti-climactic. (Also, we’re already adding in that 2nd OT in this hypothetical world, so let’s get this shootout over with asap). Nobody would want a 3-shooter minimum for penalty shots, so why do we have it for shootouts? 1 on 1 shootouts would also highlight the star players or skilled shootouters chosen to take that crucial first attempt 


  • Add a ‘Backcourt Violation’ in OT.

     Some teams have started boringly killing time and hogging puck possession in overtime, using the open ice that 3 on 3 hockey provides to skate around playing keep-away with the puck. The league should consider making it illegal to retreat back behind centre ice with the puck during 3 on 3 OT – or perhaps even to retreat out of the offensive zone, which players are now doing frequently, on purpose, in OT. (There’s a great clip of Mathew Barzal doing this several times in a row, easily and single-handedly holding on to the puck for his entire shift). Doing so should result in a defensive-zone faceoff. This rule change will also make shootouts less likely to occur. 

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