National Hockey League to address shoot-out debacle

Florida Panthers centre Nick Bjugstad celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal (Alan Diaz/AP)

Florida Panthers centre Nick Bjugstad celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal (Alan Diaz/AP)

New York–The National Hockey League governors have initiated emergency talks in wake of last night’s game between the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals that took an unprecedented 20 shootout rounds to be settled.

“This is completely unacceptable,” said one league official who refused to be named. “Had this happened on a Saturday night, we might have been able to simply shrug off the length of this contest, but it happened on a Tuesday night, when fans need to work the next morning. To have a game go this late into the evening just won’t work for today’s fans.”

Thus, the governors are meeting to discuss ways to further hasten the end of regular season games and reduce the likelihood of such events happening again.

While an official list of possible tactics has not been released, sources close to the central office of the NHL suggest the following are being considered for games that fail to resolve after 5 shootout rounds:

  • Removing the goaltenders and turning the net toward the boards.
  • Strapping the goaltender’s hands and feet to the posts to prevent potential blocking motions.
  • Allowing two shooters to skate on the goaltender at the same time.
  • Resolving the tie on the basis of overall shots on goal, followed by fewest penalty minutes.
  • Awarding the win on the basis of whose fans cheer loudest.
  • Awarding both teams 1.5 points and going home.

The NHL has not set a timeline for resolution of this problem, but they hope to have a solution in place and activated before the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend, which takes place January 24-25 in Columbus, Ohio.

For more on the game between the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals, please see:

NHL record for shootouts set as Panthers outlast Capitals after 20 rounds (!)

 

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