Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Slow Death Overtime

Sean and I had a brief text conversation today about, of all things, hockey, or more specifically, the amount of points needed for a team to make the playoffs. I wondered, idly, the minimum possible number of points a team would need to get into the playoffs, assuming that many many teams had a terrible year so the threshold would be lower. I had thought that a lot of tie games might help lower the point threshold, but Sean informed me that there are never ties in NHL games now, no matter how long they have to play.

That put an exciting notion in my head: theoretically, assuming that the goalies play exceptionally well or the...puck-shooters play exceptionally poorly, a game could go on forever. You could end up with a situations where the players, after, say, two or three days of constant playing, drop from exhaustion, one by one. Ideally, the two goalies would be the last to drop, preferably at the same time, so that no victor could be counted. Would the NHL declare a tie in that case? Would they change the rules mid-play out of mercy for the players?

According to Sean, the longest game recorded went six extra periods, back in 1933. "People likely barfed," he remarks. 

3 comments:

Totty said...

Sean has misled you. Ties are still possible in the regular season, just not in the playoffs. Frankly, it's a shocking mistake from him, or else you've misinterpretted what he said.

Sean Woods said...

Mike, there haven't been ties since the shootout was introduced. Teams do get a point for a shootout loss, however.

Totty said...

Oh right, shootout, I completely forgot about that. I guess that's how much hockey I watch these days. Habs are only slightly less pathetic than the Oil. And it's a terrible way to decide a team sport. But that's not a new debate.