Welcome Matt: Are marathon OT playoff games bad business for NHL?

May 19 2023, 8:54 pm

sekeres and price

Long overtime games are a distinguishing feature of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but as I watched the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes drone on last night, found myself wondering if theyā€™re on borrowed time.

We live in an attention-span economy. People donā€™t want to commit five-plus hours to stay in one place.

You saw the rink in Raleigh last night. Chris Cuthbert estimated it was two-thirds full by the end. Fans went home without knowing the winner. Their time was more valuable than seeing the game-winning goal.

As an aside: I do think if that game happens in a better hockey market, more people remain and are gripped to the proceedings. I think some North Carolina was showing amongst the departed.

Baseball has gotten the message and introduced a pitch clock. Once thought sacrosanct in the game that prided itself on no clock, even the most hardened, tobacco-spitting baseball men have instantly applauded the new era.

Why? Because they value their time, too.

Look, I like long overtimes. Used to be a nighthawk in my younger days back east, so a game that was still ongoing after I got back from the bar was perfect late-night entertainment.

And I still like long overtimes if my eyelids will cooperate.

But I think Iā€™m in the minority, and that some sort of sudden resolution is on the horizonā€¦especially if an ice hockey game runs too long and spoils whatever ESPN or TNT has coming up next.

Itā€™s probably time, because more and more, people donā€™t have as much of it.

Matthew SekeresMatthew Sekeres

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