A recent conversation with Hildymac yielded a couple of interesting questions, so it seemed like a good idea to bring them out here for public conversation.
Among the changes this this year, there are two notable changes with how Overtime and Shootouts are run.
First, there is what happens in Overtime (copied from the Puck Daddy article):
Rule 84 – Overtime
* Teams will switch ends prior to the start of overtime in the regular season.
* The entire ice surface will undergo a "dry scrape" prior to the start of overtime in the regular season.
* The procedure requiring the head coach to submit a list of the first three shooters in the shoot-out has been eliminated.
Switching ends before overtime is basically reverting to a 2nd-period setup, where both teams have to skate further between their defensive zone and the bench - the "long line change". This simple change in geography can open up more scoring chances. Players who are fatigued at the end of their shift now have to skate a greater distance, and the same is true for the fresh players, who can easily fall behind the play. In sudden death, one bad line change, or an ill-timed turnover, and the game can be over quickly.
It is generally considered that most scoring happens in the 2nd period. That is borne out in the scoring totals for last season: league-wide, the first period saw 1897 goals, the second had 2299 goals, and the third saw 2248 goals scored. While this is not universal (St Louis, for instance, scored 68/83/85), you see a similar pattern in high-scoring teams like Anaheim (75/103/78) and Chicago (68/102/90). It's not an end-all solution, but there's certainly an influence that can lead to more games ending during OT. It's a nice tweak, without resorting to any radical rules changes.
But how does this affect the Blues?
Well, it's impossible to say with certainty that it will or won't change things. However, the note above that the Blues were one of the exceptions suggests that it might not be as big a deal. The same non-conformity with conventional wisdom holds true in the previous years with Hitchcock: in 2012-2013, the goal scoring was 41/41/38 , and in 2011-2012 it was 67/64/72. Nothing is etched in stone; but if history is our guide, the Blues scoring will not be greatly affected by the long line change.
Secondly, there was a change in the shootout itself (same source):
Rule 24 – Penalty Shot
The 'Spin-O-Rama' move, as described in Section 24.2 of the 2013-14 NHL Rule Book, will no longer be permitted either in Penalty Shot situations or in the Shootout.
While there is a premium for Regulation and Overtime Wins (ROW) for tiebreakers, the bottom line is that every point counts. In the total standings, 2 points are 2 points, and you want to accumulate as many as possible. Who cares when they came - shootout wins are still 2 points. The most glaring example would be the 2013-2014 New Jersey Devils, who did not win a single shootout all year. Leaving those points behind cost them dearly - if they had even performed at league-average, they would have had enough points to be in the playoff hunt. Regardless of how you feel about the skills competition gimmickry, it's a problem that needs to be solved when it can cost you a playoff spot.
But now we face the much-lamented death of the spin-o-rama:
Usually entertaining, and one of the few times that the NHL will make the non-Buccigross/LeBrun part of ESPN, it was a controversial decision.
But how does this affect the Blues?
Obviously, whenever the topic of the conversation includes the words "Blues" and "shootout" ... the first thought is for T.J. Oshie and his success. Oshie was 9 for 12 in the 2013-2014 season, and is 27/48 in his NHL career (56%). As far back as I can remember, though, I don't recall him ever doing the spin-o-rama in the shootout. I don't recall any Blues player doing it, to be honest. My first reaction would be to say that it doesn't affect the Blues at all. On the back of Oshie's incredible talent, the Blues have been pretty successful already without the spin move. As for where the Blues fit amongst the rest of the league - I could see it breaking down one of two ways. One, whatever advantage St Louis has will only increase while the rest of the league retools and adjusts to life without the spin-o-rama. OR, it could cause the rest of the league to follow his lead, making things worse for goalies everywhere. Much has been written about what makes Oshie so successful, and the NHL is certainly a copycat league.
(from THIS Deadspin article)
As we say on the podcast, "Nobody Knows Nuttin' ", but it'll definitely be interesting to see how this plays out. While the overtime changes will likely reduce the number of shootouts that we see, we'll all be on the edge of our seats when the time does come. Discuss below what you think we'll see from the Blues and the rest of the NHL as a result of these changes.