Unlimited overtime in playoff hockey? No big deal

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The NFL currently is trying to convince at least 24 owners to reduce regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes, primarily to eliminate one of the poopfest-based arguments against Thursday Night Football. The Competition Committee has argued that the number of maximum minutes needs to shrink from 75 to 70 because of the possibility that one of the teams will be playing again only four days later.

Meanwhile, hockey players play playoff games that can last an unlimited amount of time, often with another opportunity to do the same thing coming only two days later. And no one ever says boo about it.

Yes, it’s rare that overtime in playoff hockey results in a practical doubleheader. But it’s not unprecedented; it’s happened four times since 2000. (On May 4 of that year, the Penguins and Flyers played more than 150 total minutes.)

Football is a rough and tumble sport, and the league, teams, coaches, and players should be concerned about player health and safety. But watch a game tonight if you don’t think playoff hockey is every bit as rough and/or tumble.

Last night, all four playoff games went to overtime. For the Maple Leafs and Capitals, overtime came two nights after double overtime.

The point here is that, for whatever reason, the hockey establishment (including the players) has no qualms whatsoever about the strain that up to 28 playoff games — any, some, or all of which could result in overtime — after 82 regular-season games can have on the men who skate, shoot, check, hit, fall, fight, etc. The football establishment has become increasingly skittish about potential overuse of players.

Yes, regular-season hockey has up to only five extra minutes and then a shootout (football should use a shootout of sorts, too, to settle regular-season ties), and NFL playoff games in their can go on indefinitely, too. But no football game ever has resulted in 30 extra minutes of play following the original sixty, and NFL teams play up to only four playoff games per year.

For hockey, the playoffs amount to a second season that stretches nearly two months, with games typically happening every two days and teams susceptible of playing two full games or more in order to secure a winner.

Good, bad, or otherwise, hockey will continue to do what hockey does. And you can marvel at it tonight, coincidentally, as the Rangers host the Canadiens (7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN), the Blue Jackets host the Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC), and/or the Sharks host the Oilers (10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

23 responses to “Unlimited overtime in playoff hockey? No big deal

  1. I’m not paying $100 a ticket x 3, $40 to park, $10 for a beer, $50 for food for the kids and $50 for a souvenir, to see a tie game??? Not me.

  2. Hockey should swap their skates for spikes in overtime.That’ll solve the foreign aided propulsion that gives them all that reserve energy.

  3. Sensing a theme here..

    Some of the same things we used to love about NFL, the NHL has been doing better. Violence? Check. More action than advertising? Check. Players who genuinely love the game, as much as the paycheck? Check, check. Announce teams not treating fans as idiots? Check.

    If you haven’t watched hockey lately, I urge you to watch the NHL Playoffs right now. It’s absolutely amazing.

  4. NHL players don’t complain. They just go out and furiously, yet gracefully skate, shoot, defend and try to win 16 playoff games to get their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. If it takes overtime, or they need to get their hands dirty, so be it. Maybe they’ll have a cold beverage after the game. These hockey players . . . a different breed.

  5. Hockey isn’t nearly has rough on the body. If it was you wouldn’t be able to play 82 games a year. Also go look at the injury rate for hockey and you will find it is actually a far safer sport to play then many including basketball. Do your research Florio before you go spouting off looking ignorant. Hockey is great but you aren’t lining up every minute to collide with each other, no sport does that like football.

  6. As far as NFL and NHL as sports, fans can get along and appreciate it’s similarity ( teamwork emotionality and physicality ) and differences.
    Hockey and baseball fans get along , but hockey and NBA? We hate each other.

  7. The NHL is huge in most all of its markets. However outside of those markets hardly anyone notices. Not sure why really. I’m just glad that I’m living in a NHL market again. It’s great to talk hockey around town and go to games again. I grew up a Rangers fan however living here I’m really loving the game day experience of the Lightning. They’re a great organization.

  8. Too many people just do not understand old time hockey.

    There Are Far Too Many people who have never seen one of the greatest sports movies of all time.

    “Slap Shot” Staring Paul Newman in his greatest role in his movie career.

    Watch it tonight youngsters, you will thank me later.

  9. All 3 Leafs/Capitals games have gone into overtime with one of them going into 2 overtime periods.

    It’s a wonderful thing and it’s wonderful to be a Leafs fan too.

    Buffalo, not so much. 🙂

  10. Football, basketball, baseball, and soccer could learn a lot about toughness from the NHL. These boys regularly lose teeth and get nailed by rock-hard pucks flying at 100 mph. I know the bubble wrap is omnipresent in professional sports now, but at least the NHL hasn’t completely gone soft.

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