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Minnesota Hockey: Umm...About That Shootout is Dead Thing

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The NCAA has bowed down to pressure—the Shootout LIVES

So...looks like we were a bit premature in declaring the shootout dead
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So if you frequent this blog—and we hope you do, you might remember about a month ago when someone who shall remain nameless wrote a blog post celebrating the death of the shootout in college hockey. It may actually even have been this blog post here. Well...we may have been a bit premature. That or we seriously underestimated the ability of coaches and media of the NCHC to whine and moan until they got their way.

The original proposal as put forth by Cornell’s head coach was to standardize the way that games end. You play 60 minutes, if you are tied, you play a 5 minute 5x5 OT, if you are still tied, the game ends in a tie. Boom, that’s it. That originally passed the rules committee and was expected to be passed by the full college hockey governing body this week. Until it wasn’t.

Many detractors of this idea led by some vocal members of the coaching staffs and conference staff of the NCHC as you can see in the articles embedded above complained that this was too boring and would turn people away from the sport. They wanted what the NCHC had implemented in their league—5 minutes of 5x5 OT followed by 5 minutes of 3x3 OT and then a shootout if the game was still tied. Well—their complaining worked.

The new proposal released on Thursday is this:

  • Teams will play a normal 60 minute regulation game
  • Teams will be required to play 5 minutes of 5x5 OT. The outcome after this result will be the result used for pairwise calculations. ALL non-conference games will end at this point and will be a tie if no goals are scored after 5 minutes of OT.
  • For conference games only, individual conferences will be allowed to then let teams play for extra conference points via either a 5 minute 3x3 OT and then advance to a shootout if the game remains tied (What the NCHC and WCHA men used previously) OR go directly to a shootout (What the Big Ten/WCHA women did).
  • For in-season tournaments any of the approved OT formats will be fine, or you can play 20 minute sudden death OT until there is a winner. That will be the tournament organizer’s discretion.
  • No changes to postseason OT rules. You play 20 minute 5x5 periods until someone scores.

So, the original goal was to get one consistent end of game situation. Yeah, that’s a fail. #shocking. In fact for all of these ”big changes” there literally appears to be one change from a year ago. All non-conference games are done after 5 minutes of 5x5 OT. No more ambiguous looks between the opposing coaches and the refs to see if a shootout is going to happen or not. It’s just a damn tie and you go back to the locker room.

I suppose its possible we could hear before the start of the season that the Big Ten or Women’s WCHA will change its format to either the 3x3 OT + shootout or just keep the 5x5 ot and call it a tie, but we all know that’s very unlikely. The shootout is back from the dead, and will be making its presence known at Mariucci and Ridder Arenas this winter. Sigh.