Am I the only one who is really annoyed by 4-on-4 NHL regular season overtime?
I'm not even going to touch the whole get-a-point-for-losing debate, let alone the skills competition that follows a scoreless overtime. What I don't like is the 4 on 4 play, something which a lot of fans actually don't mind about the current set up.
4-on-4 overtime can provide for some of the most exciting action on the ice in any game, I will grant you that. But that is only when the game allows for transition offense, which depending on the teams, can be frequent. I will grant you that, too.
But when the transition offense is reduced to zone play, I get frustrated. I watch the two forwards cycle the puck with no third forward to open up shooting or passing lanes or to get into scoring position. I see most defensemen unwilling to pinch up, in fear of being caught on a turnover. What we end up with is frustrating hockey that just doesn't look right. Where's the other player?
Taking a player off the ice is just ridiculous. You don't take away players off of a baseball field in extra innings, so why should we do that in hockey?
Here's what we should do. Return to 5 on 5 overtime, but only allow 4 defensive players in the defensive zone. The result is essentially a power play for the offensive team. The defensive team can be rewarded for their hard work by springing the player trapped in the neutral zone, thus keeping alive the exciting transition play.
As a hockey purist I don't like all the rule changes over the recent past, especially regarding overtime and how games end. This would be a good way of fixing OT. I can live with the shootout, but we will have to do something about points for losing. I'll leave that for a future post.