I agree that there should not be ties in professional sports. Every game should be won and lost. But I hate how the NHL currently handles overtime. Here's why:
1. I hate that OT is 4 on 4 hockey. I don't think this makes it easier for teams to score. In my opinion, it makes it harder to score. Plus it is a perversion of the game. The winner should be the best team at 5 on 5 hockey. The rest of the game was 5 on 5, so why allow the winner to be chose by a different format?
Also, 5 minutes isn't very long for a period that is supposed to decide the game's winner.
2. No hockey game should be won or lost by a shootout. That is not the game. The game is 5 on 5 hockey. The team who wins a shootout isn't necessarily the better team. Both teams will send their best shooters, and if there was a great disparity between the teams, the game wouldn't still be tied after regulation and OT. Sure, there is some skill involved in a shootout, but it's a lot more luck than anything. Why should the game be decided by luck in a non-game situation?
Yes, sudden death OT periods could go on all night, but that's the beauty of professional sports, keep playing until someone wins.
3. My biggest problem with the NHL's OT rules is teams gaining a point for an OT loss. A loss is a loss, it doesn't matter how long it too to happen. Teams shouldn't be rewarded for losing.
And if the winning team is competing for a playoff spot in the same conference, they are being punished for winning by their opponent gaining an undeserved point. Playoff spots and seeding are based on points, not wins as it is in other major sports. This made sense back when there were ties, although as I said, I am not advocating bring ties back.
This causes a problem if teams get a point for OT losses. This means a team with fewer wins can have more points than a team who actually earned theirs through victories. Teams with less wins can beat out teams with more wins for playoff spots and in playoff seeding, simply because they LOST more games in OT. Say what?!
Want an example? Based on their 86 points, the Chicago Blackhawks are tied for first place in the Central Division, and would be the number 3 seed in the Western Conference. But they have 14 overtime losses. That means 14 of their 86 points are from games they lost!!! Say what?! Without being rewarded for losing, the Hawks would only have 72 points, knocking them down to 4th place in the Central Division, and making them the 7th seed in the Western Conference. Is this fair to the other teams in their division and conference?
If you take the OT loss points away from their rivals, none of which even come close to exploiting this rule as much as Chicago, the Blackhawks would still only be 3rd in their division, and 5th in the conference.
The NHL is an exciting league for an exciting game, which unfortunately doesn't receive enough respect or exposure in the US. I don't think rewarding teams for losing games has any place in professional sports, and should be reserved for pee wee leagues.