Regardless of this sick goal scored by Patrick Kane above, I really can’t stand this part of the game.
When the NHL instituted a new rule called the shootout, many were relieved to know that games would no longer end in ties. We all know how we feel about ties don’t we? The old phrase “it’s like kissing your sister” is a perfect description of a game ending without a clear cut winner.
As we look at the game as it is today, many people (myself included) feel as though the shootout is just a skills competition for players to show off their moves. The video above of Patrick Kane’s stickhandling Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom out of his pads was bossy! But while in many cases it’s true that players get to show off, in other cases it’s become a dreaded ending to a hard fought game where a team will coast in the five minute overtime by doing their best to survive the four on four action, and take their chances in the
skills competition shootuot. George Richards wrote about the shootout as it related to the Florida Panthers in the Miami Herald and discussed the record of the Panthers in them. This season they’ve been in five and won only once. In 73 shootouts overall the Panthers record is an abysmal 25-48. And we all remember the year we missed the playoffs by one point because of a shootout loss don’t we?
Marcel Goc as George points out has scored the only Panther shootout goal this season in the fourteen attempts that the team has taken. Certainly horrible odds when you look at them, and what’s even more worrisome is that points are being thrown away because of it.
When I’m watching a game that I care about, which will either involve the Panthers or the Chicago Blackhawks, I will typically send out my standard message on Twitter that reads like this: I hate shootouts! Funny thing is, friends will also send me the same message on Twitter, or in a text message that they feel the same way. While extending overtime doesn’t seem to be on the NHL’s horizon anytime soon, I wish that it would be considered. After watching the Panthers lose to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, it was very apparent that the Devils had no real interest in applying pressure to win the game, and seemed to “hang on” for five minutes. Suggestions have been made that after five minutes of four on four, if the games were still tied, that five minutes of three on three would be instituted in hopes to create more open space and more socring opportunities.
I’m not sure that’s the answer since the same strategy could be used to “coast” another five minutes, but it’s this writers opinion that something needs to be done. Whether its changing the point system, or revamping overtime altogether I’m not sure. It just seems to me that after going full throttle for 60 minutes, knowing that if you can make it to the shootout, you just might be able to steal the extra point is a bit disappointing.
This part of the game is one of things that if you win, you love it, and no doubt I was thrilled for Kane and the Hawks last night. A fitting ending to the day for Kane as he started off the night with NHL 36, and ended the evening with his winning goal. All too often however, when a game comes down to this, I find myself sitting with my muscles tightening up. Take a look at the girl in the white Blackhawks sweater standing by the Geico advertisement and her reaction to Kane’s goal. That pretty much could describe how you feel winning, or losing.
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