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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Multiple Overtimes: The Way REAL Men Do It    

I love playoff hockey.

Why?  Because the NHL does away with those lame-ass shootouts and decides games the way they were meant to be decided: sudden-death overtime.  None of this retarded soccer-bitch gimmicky bullshit with penalty shots.  They play forever, until someone scores a goal.  The way it should be.  And when they actually score... it's unbelievable.  "Ridiculously long playoff hockey overtime" is #2 on my list of Most Exciting Sporting Spectacles, a fraction of a hair behind "NCAA Tournament buzzer-beater."

That's why I'm so thrilled that the Canucks and Stars took four overtimes to decide last night's this morning's Game 1.  78 minutes of overtime, after 60 minutes of regulation.  Roberto Luongo made 72 saves.  SEVENTY-TWO!  The game ended sometime around 3 AM on the east coast.  Goddamn right it did.  THAT is how you decide a hockey game.

Glad to see we've already had two overtime thrillers (Sharks-Preds went into 2OT) and we're only one day in.  Let's hope this continues.



  • I tried to make this case about soccer to some English soccer fans last summer in Bogotá, and I was met with resounding disinterest. The general consensus was just that the game would just get worse and worse as overtime went on, and eventually people would get hurt. Maybe if FIFA changed their draconian substitution regulations, but otherwise I just can't see it, unfortunately.

    On other hand, losing in a shutout is cheap, but by that point you've already basically shown that you don't deserve to win anyway. So I'm not sure the problem is as pressing as all that.

    Still, if it was me, I would move to Golden Goal immediately after the end of regulation. Or better yet, have a couple of straight up overtime periods first but allow more substitutions, possibly even allowing people back in the game after they'd left it once. I'm sure if I was a real soccer fan or whatever I'd be horrified by that, but I really don't see the point in demanding that players play the entire game. It seems like it hurts the on-field product, to me.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 12:26 PM  

  • I forget whether I ever posted my long diatribe about how stupid it was for FIFA to revert FROM Golden Goal rules. How could it be MORE fair to give a bunch of pussy losers a second chance to win after giving up the first goal of the game???

    I'm still pissed that the Revolution scored the first goal of OT in the MLS Cup last year, only to have Brian Ching come right back and score the equalizer. AFTER THEY LOST THE GAME!!! The Revs suck for allowing the goal, BUT THEY WON! Stupid FIFA. When I hear people piss and moan about why Americans don't like soccer, I will gladly point to that fucking bullshit goal as the end of the argument. Big boys don't play like that.

    That said, I agree with those guys that soccer would get worse as time goes on. That's certainly the case in the NHL playoffs. The hockey itself is agonizing; it's the drama that makes it worthwhile viewing, not the quality of play.

    Then there's the issue of substitution, which you touched on. I think hockey is better fit for epic 4OT slugfests because of the nature of line changes. Everyone's exhausted, but you at least have the opportunity for breaks in the action. Soccer doesn't afford that luxury. Short of wholesale substitutions, which would amount to a completely separate game than the one that went to a draw (also shitty), I see no way around that issue.

    Finally, realize that these English folks could actually enjoy a 0-0 draw because the soccer itself was pretty good. They wouldn't want to see a great game sullied by subpar play in overtime. There's some truth in that.

    Of course, viewing penalty shootouts as any less of a stain on a slam-bang 0-0 matchup is kinda idiotic as well.

    Anyway, I'll say this about the hockey shootout. There's some controversy brewing in Canada, because Montreal and Toronto were beaten out for the #8 slot in the East by the Islanders' final-day OT shootout win. And they are pissed. Despite the fact that the Leafs and Habs' suckage led directly to their fates for more than the Isles' perceived heroism, I think they have an excellent point. It's shitty to have your entire season decided by a penalty. As a result, we're likely to spend the summer debating the merits of the OT shootout.

    Which is fine by me, because I don't like it. If it were up to me, I'd have successive 5-minute sudden-death OTs where you pull a player from the ice each period. First OT is 4-on-4 as it is now, but #2 is 3-on-3, and each OT after that is 2-on-2. I refuse to believe 2-on-2 play couldn't a) result in a goal and b) be better than a bullshit shootout. And it's not like that's a TON of hockey. It's not 78 minutes of hell, like the Canucks game last night. It's relatively short, sweet, far more fair, and still eliminates the tie.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 1:03 PM  

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