Give the Phoenix Coyotes 60 minutes to play hockey and they’re not too bad.
Make them play another five, and they get a little worse.
Force them to do anything after that and, well, it’s a struggle.
As the Coyotes head into their final three games of the season, it’s hard not to notice how their “free hockey” struggles have cost them.
The team’s 15 overtime losses are tied for tops among Western Conference teams, and they’ve lost more shootouts than they’ve won.
If only things were just a little different.
“Our overtime games have cost us this year,” Coyotes co-owner George Gosbee told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “We had 15, and if we could have converted half of those we’d be up there with 94, 95 points.”
As it is, the Coyotes’ 87 points are not enough to get them into the postseason, while seven or eight more would all but guarantee a spot.
Win the game, earn two points. Lose it in overtime or in a shootout, earn one. It adds up over the duration of a season.
Of course, the Coyotes have the same chance as their opponent to score in the extra five minutes, so it’s not as if they go into overtime at a disadvantage.
But if neither team scores the game moves to a shootout, and those have not gone well at all for the team. And while they may be exciting to watch, if it was up to Gosbee games would not be decided in that manner.
“I think that the shootout is entertaining but I’d much rather see a longer overtime period,” he said.
Gosbee made sure to note that he’s not asking the NHL to go with a full period, but rather another few minutes of action in hopes that the game will be settled in a normal hockey setting.
“Adding three or five minutes onto it I think would help,” he said. “And I think a lot more games could get decided by playing rather than going down to the shootout.”