Report: IIHF could axe shootouts for gold medal games

Canada loses WJC final to Team USA 5-4 in a shootout.
Canada loses WJC final to Team USA 5-4 in a shootout.

No one likes to lose in a shootout. It’s widely derided as a skills competition and in many cases fans – particularly ones on the losing side – feel cheated by the outcome.

And it’s even worse when national pride is on the line in a gold medal game. At the recent world junior championships, there were two pivotal games decided by shootouts – one that sent the Russia to the bronze medal match (Team USA won that semifinal) and, of course, the gold medal game that gave the U.S. a 5-4 victory over Canada in 60-plus minutes of thrilling hockey.

Not everyone was pumped about the way the game ended, regardless of who won.

Former NHLer and one of USA Hockey’s greatest players – Mike Modano – might get his wish. According to TSN reporter Darren Dreger, IIHF officials from both Canada and the U.S. are investigating some potential scenarios to nix or at least further curb the shootout. He tempered the comments, by saying discussions are still in the early stages.

At present the IIHF rules dictate 20 minutes of overtime for the gold medal game before moving on to a five-round shootout.

Some thoughts would be to have overtime start with four-on-four or five-on-five play and decrease it down by one player on each side for the final 10 minutes. Even three-on-three would be a better way to decide the final, rather than have it decided by a straight up battle between goalie and shooter.

The IIHF already has three-on-three play in overtime (10 minutes) for the round robin portion of the tournament. There’s also four-on-four (again, 10 minutes) for the playoffs/relegation and bronze medal game.