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What’s Wrong With Ties?

March 9, 2011

College is, in many ways, a perfect storm of ingredients that create a hotbed for heated debates. When you take young men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and stir in new ideas and a pinch of growing self-confidence, folks are bound to find some reasons to argue.

For my group of friends, the arguments were typically sports related, and when we had our debates over a few brews, they could often devolve into shouting matches that frequently left us wondering what we were arguing about in the first place. All of this changed when a friend and I discovered a great way to help us avoid having trivial arguments ruin a good time. From then on, our boozy arguments typically went something like this:

Me: Cornerstone has the best wings in College Park, hands down.

Mark Mac: Seriously? Cluck U’s superior wing sauce selection makes it a clear frontrunner by miles.

Me: (sarcastically, but with a smile) You’re so right, dude.

Boom. End of meaningless argument. Back to having fun. Of course, there are situations where it is necessary to argue, but those situations are rare. For someone like me who enjoys a good verbal tussle, it was a difficult lesson to learn, but I’m a much happier person for it.

After watching the Caps end a  game with their division rivals, Tampa Bay, Monday night, with a shootout that hardly did the intense hard-fought 1-1 game justice, I’m starting to wish that the NHL could learn that lesson, too (even though a glorious Ovie goal won the game). In some respects they are as the NHL is looking for alternatives to the shootout which  has become much too commonplace (they ended nearly 15 percent of games last year), and has created issues in the standings. However, the most popular proposed solutions only seem to be more new and interesting gimmicks designed to keep our attention.

Reading through these exotic overtime proposals, I keep find myself wondering what’s so wrong with a regular season game ending in a tie? Why, after 60 or 65 minutes of playoff-style hockey, couldn’t Bruce Boudreau just walk up to Guy Boucher and say “You know what? You’re so right dude. See you in the playoffs.” and leave it at that?

Why does it make more sense to decide a game where two teams left everything out on the ice with a spectacle that has been compared to ending an NFL game with two field goal kickers squaring off to settle a game after over time?

Surprisingly, I’m in the minority here, as polls have suggested that fans like shootouts by a wide margin. Some people like Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated are so pro-shootout, that they describe themselves as shootout-aholics. Like Mike, I can remember my fair share of exciting shootouts, too, like watching two of the game’s greats, Ovechkin and Brodeur, do battle to decide a game with the Devils.

Still, at this point, we’re beating this particular gimmick like a dead horse, and as anyone who owned a Budweiser “Whassssuuuppp!” t-shirt or an XFL football franchise can tell you, sooner or later, gimmicks get old and people move on.

Besides, in Farber’s examples of high-profile shootouts from World Cups to Olympic hockey gold medal games, I think we can all agree that having to settle a major game by something other than actually playing the game is unfortunate to say the least.

So why not bring back ties? Sure, this is coming from a soccer fan who deals with ties every week. Ties are lame. I know. The point is if you are awarding wins for something so arbitrary, it diminishes the value of actually winning, and all while during the regular season when deciding a winner and loser isn’t really that necessary. Ultimately, at the end of the year, we’ll know who is the best at winning hockey games the way they were meant to be played, not who is better at working the points system.

How do  you feel about shootouts? Leave your thoughts below, or, perhaps, let’s just agree to disagree.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2011 8:01 am

    I can’t say I really disagree with you. The shootouts can be exciting, but at least the winner of a shootout doesn’t get the full 3 points for the W. That makes it a little easier to stomach.

    • March 10, 2011 9:10 am

      That’s just the thing man. All wins, whether from the shootout or otherwise, equal two points. Case in point, last night the Caps put a whuppin on the Oilers, 5-0. At the same time, Tampa beat Pittsburgh in a shootout 4-3. Eventhough we won in impressive fashion in regulation, we didn’t put any distance between us and our closest division rivals. It just doesn’t seem right.

      • March 17, 2011 7:34 am

        Forgot that wins in hockey are 2 points regardless. My point is null and void. Blame Canada.

  2. Singenius permalink
    March 10, 2011 5:13 pm

    1) Agree 100% that cornerstone has the best wings in College Park. No stupid chain can beat them, especially not due to stupid ass sugar based sauces.

    2) Nobody cares about hockey.

    3) WTF happened to the Terps? Epic meltdown.

    • March 10, 2011 5:18 pm

      1. While the argument in question was fictional, you’re absolutely right, which is why I placed myself as the genius stating that C-stone wings are the best.
      2. DC has hockey fever, Sing. We’re “Cup Crazy” you might say.
      3. Nobody knows. Not looking forward to this evening’s game.

  3. Mark permalink
    March 18, 2011 1:27 pm

    You couldnt be more right on this one

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