I don't hate the shootout that much, I find it just messes with everything. I like it because there is a winner. You can gloat to your friends that your team won in head-to-head match, but in reality it's just a dirty win. It's a skills competition, a cop-out to end the game early and have the crowd go home happy with a win, or content, knowing there team "at least" got a point. The overtime loss doesn't help much either, but it is more exciting seeing a team win in this fashion.
Currently, only 12 teams in the NHL have a wining % of .500 or better, yet there are 24 teams that have an equal or greater point total than games played. Looking at the standings and seeing all the OT/SO losses is really disturbing and putting a misconception on the parity that Gary Bettman raves about. There are over 30 games left for every team right now, but with all the "3 point" games that are happening, teams that are 8 to 10 points out of a playoff position are in do-or-die mode on a nightly basis. A system needs to be in place to truly determine, which teams were the best in the regular season.
We all know this has been a controversy for a long time and something needs to be done.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals are prime examples of a needed change. Both these teams currently hold the 2 wild card positions in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. Did you know there combined wining % in regulation and overtime is .302. Although, when shootout wins are combined % it's .479. That is a very significant increase.
Now, let's look at the 2 teams chasing them. Ottawa and New Jersey are 1 point back from playoff contention. There combined wining % in regulation and overtime is .402 and with shootout wins is .422. Between these 2 teams, there have only been 2 shootout victories, opposed to 17 with the Leafs and the Caps. The Sens and Devils also have 10 more regulation or overtime wins too.
Am I saying the Sens and Devils are better teams then the Leafs and Caps. Not really. I'm only saying a skills competition shouldn't determine playoff implications. I think overtime should definitely be expanded or at least explored in pre-season. If that doesn't seem like a good option, make all games 3 point games. It's pretty stupid that there is a variance of point totals on a game-to-game basis. International hockey has a system in place to award regulation wins and so should the NHL.
Please, add thoughts and comments. I'm not the first to bring this up and I won't be the last, but I do believe there are a lot of hockey fans out there tired of there team getting shafted by a skills completion.