McDavid offers up alternative to shootouts

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Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (97) isn't a fan of the shootout. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Connor McDavid, the NHL’s brightest superstar, wouldn’t mind seeing shootouts replaced with an extra five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.

And the Edmonton Oilers captain could be on to something with that intriguing take.

The 26-year-old appeared on Sportsnet’s Tim and Friends show on Thursday and discussed numerous topics, including his stance on shootouts. Though he hasn’t always been willing to provide criticism, the two-time Hart Trophy winner didn’t hide his feelings about deciding games with a skills competition.

“No one loves the shootout,” McDavid said. “It’s a crappy way to finish a game.”

McDavid, offering to play devil’s advocate, also mentioned that playing 10 minutes of overtime could be hazardous for players’ health as it would add to their already-high regular-season workloads. At the same time, though, that could be worth the risk.

“At the end of the day, also, it’s about the players’ health and safety,” McDavid said. “It’s a long season. The overtime, it taxes a lot of guys. So, making that longer could have some effects there.

“But I agree, no one wants to see the game end in a shootout.”

The Oilers’ franchise icon isn’t the only person advocating for extending the extra period, either, as former NHL skater and current hockey analyst Kevin Bieksa doubled down on No. 97’s idea. And Bieksa went even further, suggesting ties should return to the NHL.

“It’s the first [time] I’ve actually thought about it, but I would love 10 minutes of 3-on-3 [overtime] and then axe the shootout,” Bieksa explained. “Shootout was exciting when it first came because before that, we were ending games in ties. And we were like, ‘No, this isn’t soccer. We want to see a winner.’

“And then the shootout was great — it served its purpose. It got some offensive explosion and [we] got to see some great moves. And now I think it’s kind of fizzled out and you got to keep evolving. I love the 10-minute 3-on-3.”

The NHL first adopted 3-on-3 overtime ahead of the 2015-16 season, with continuous 5-on-5 overtime remaining unchanged in the playoffs.

Interestingly, 3-on-3 overtime in the East Coast Hockey League changed to a seven-minute format prior to the 2019-20 campaign but didn’t eliminate shootouts. And it proved successful, with more contests ending in the extra frame.

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