Gus Kastaros this morning posted some NHL overtime statistics on his twitter account this morning which got me digging into the stats a little more.
KatsHockey > Overtime on the other hand is at #NHL record setting pace of 208 games .. in past week (7 days) have been 8 OT games
KatsHockey > Only six shootouts in #NHL thus far & only two shootout games in past 42 games one week ago .. pace has dipped to post-lockout low of 96
If that wasn’t interesting itself, there have been 20 overtimes this year. In the first 11 overtimes there were 3 power plays awarded and no overtime game winning power play goals were recorded. One of those three power plays were given with just 7 seconds left in the OT so really there were only 2 full power plays in the first 11 over times. Contrast that to the past 9 over times in which 6 power plays were awarded and 5 over time power play game winning goals were scored. The power play that did not result in a goal was awarded with just 16 seconds left.
It is probably just a coincidence that 3 of the first 11 overtime games had an overtime powerplay and 6 of the next 9 did but it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that the NHL, in an attempt to reduce the number of shootouts, issued a notice to the referees not let up in calling penalties in the overtime. Four of the first 11 overtime games went to a shootout while 2 of the following 9 did. If I get an opportunity I’ll dig a little deeper and compare what we have seen so far this season with past years data.
The other I pondered was related to penalties taken late in the overtime. As it is right now there really isn’t much to dissuade players from taking penalties very late in the overtime, especially if they are facing any kind of pressure in the defensive zone from the opposition. If there is only 10 seconds left in overtime the risk/reward equation of taking a penalty to take away even a mediocre chance to score by the opposition probably leans towards taking the penalty. There have been two such cases where penalties have been called with 16 or fewer seconds left in overtime this year. I generally don’t like it when it is actually beneficial for a team to take a penalty (one of the reasons I don’t particularly like basketball) so a minor rule tweak that might be worth considering is that all overtime power plays must be served for at least one minute unless the power play gets cancelled out by an offsetting penalty against the team with the man advantage. So, for example, if someone takes a hooking penalty late in the overtime, the overtime period will be extended until that player has served 1 minute of his penalty. So if a penalty was called at 4:45 of the overtime, the overtime would extend until 5:45 have been played or a goal was scored or the team with the man advantage took an offsetting penalty, whichever occurs first. This would also reduce the number of games that go to a shootout. I don’t necessarily see this as being inplemented, but it is an interesting concept nonetheless (and I suppose something similar could be implemented for the end of regulation time in one goal games).