The NHL's new four-on-four overtime format was supposed to produce fewer ties. Somebody just forgot to tell the goalies.
While many players and coaches are raving about the fast-paced play and increased scoring chances created by the new format, 13 of the 15 overtime games have finished in a tie. Some players said goalies, who have stopped 90 of the 92 shots they've faced in the extra five-minute stanzas, are the reason.
"It's not easy to score goals in this league," said Sharks C Mike Ricci, the first player to register an overtime goal this season. "I think goalies kind of take it personally every time they change the rules to try for more scoring."
Ricci and the Sharks needed the help of a four-on-three power play in overtime to beat the Oilers on Oct. 7. Flames C Valeri Bure, who banged in his own rebound in overtime of Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Canucks, is the only other player to score during four-on-four play.
It took only 66 games for the league to have 15 overtime contests this season, 17 fewer games than it took to reach the mark a year ago.
* PAYING THE PRICE: NHL fans have at least one thing on followers of professional football. They're paying more for tickets. The average ticket price in the NHL rose 6.8 percent this season to $45.70. That's seven cents higher than the average NFL ticket, according to a recent survey by Team Marketing Report, a Chicago-based industry newsletter.