Suggestions on how to break ties have centered around the shoot-out used in international play. (Each team takes five penalty shots—or more, if needed—to determine a winner.) But the shoot-out concept is absurd. The competition relies on a specialized skill that doesn't demonstrate which team is superior.
A better idea is to guarantee both teams a point for reaching overtime and awarding another point to the team that scores in the extra five-minute period. With nothing to lose and a point to gain, teams would open up their offenses and press for a victory.
Most likely, overtime will remain as is. The tie has been part of the NHL since the Toronto St. Pats and the Ottawa Senators skated to a 4-4 conclusion on Feb. 11, 1922. Chances are the players in that game felt a confusion similar to that of Panthers right wing Scott Mellanby's, who said after a 1-1 tie with the Sharks in January, "We feel good about it. Obviously, we're disappointed."
Colorado Draft Picks
Who Needs The Lottery?
Last season the Bruins, the Kings and the Sharks were the three worst teams in the league; the Capitals were ninth-worst and didn't qualify for the playoffs. This year the Bruins, the Kings and the Capitals are close to locking up playoff positions, and the Sharks were only one point from a postseason berth at week's end. Forgive Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix if he's not cheering these rags-to-riches tales. Through trades made over the past three years Colorado holds the rights to all four of those teams' first-round picks in the June draft. At the beginning of the season it seemed certain that the Avalanche would have multiple lottery picks, but now it will have one at most. "Maybe the picks aren't as high as they might have been," says Lacroix. "But what can we do? We still like our position."
Indeed, the Avalanche, already a Stanley Cup contender with an outstanding nucleus of young players, also own the second-round picks of the Lightning and the Blackhawks. That means Colorado, which dealt its first-round selection, could have six of the top 40 picks. Says Lacroix, "If we pick right, that's a third of a team."