Gary Bettman says the shootout is here to stay in NHL

Gary Bettman says the shootout is here to stay in NHL

The NHL is introducing a new 3-on-3 overtime format next season because the majority of its member teams loathe the impact the shootout has on the standings and wanted to minimize how many are played. 

Which would signal that, in fact, the NHL’s teams don’t like the shootout.

But that doesn’t matter to commissioner Gary Bettman, who believes that “overwhelmingly fans like it,’ and hence it’s here to stay.

Said Bettman to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe:

“I think to the extent some people wanted to see fewer shootouts, this will get us there, and that’s fine. The shootout isn’t going anywhere. You go to a building during a shootout, everybody’s on their feet, nobody is leaving, which is what it was designed to do. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and so if we’re going to try and reduce the number of shootouts, this may do it.”

He added, “I think you see some people in the hockey community say they’d rather see fewer shootouts, but this is a sport that had ties for so many years and nobody liked that. And we’re not in the position in the regular season for a whole host of reasons to play games to the end in sudden death the way we do in the playoffs.”

Look, there’s no denying that the shootout has some miniscule entertainment value, hidden under the rotten layers of predictably repetitive results and the brutal inequity of its influence on the standings. Sometimes players shoot the puck between the legs. That’s fun.

If it’s a necessary evil – ostensibly because the same people who saw PIXELS this weekend wave their foam fingers during the shootout in eye-shot of Gary Bettman – then it should be minimized.

Going to 3-on-3 overtime is a step in the right direction, although I would have rather seen the AHL’s shootout-avoiding OT system (4 on 4 and then 3 on 3) implemented.

But when are we going to see the NHL finally go one step further and revamp the points system? Shouldn’t winning in the first 60 minutes matter the most? Shouldn’t the skills competition matter the least?

We’ve got the 3-on-3. When do we get the 3-point regulation win?

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