The Shootout: Six Years Later
Dmitry Orlov’s unfortunate shootout attempt made me once again realize that, six seasons after its introduction, I still am not a fan of the shootout. Now don’t get me wrong, I find shootouts very exciting to watch, and they have given us a number of outstanding highlight reel moves, like Claude Giroux’s recent beauty.
I even have my own fond shootout memory; back in PeeWee, my team was vying for a trip to the gold medal game in our Christmas break tournament, and in the semi-final game we ended regulation at a score of 0-0. Tournament rules stated that the game would head straight to a shootout to settle matters. I was the last shooter, and the only one to score, sending my team to what felt like, for 12 year olds at least, the equivalent of making it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Or getting a date to the semi-annual pre-teen chaperoned sock hop.
I was clearly thrilled at being the hero, but I remember thinking even then, was that the way the game deserved to end? Clearly both teams played well defensively, especially the two goaltenders. Then why should the result of the game, the efforts of many, come down to the actions of just a few players?
If I think a shootout was an inappropriate way to end a PeeWee house tournament semi-final, you can bet I don’t agree with settling NHL games like this. We see each and every year players battling for the playoffs and division titles, and often they are extremely close in terms of standings, and unfortunately, the difference can often be the results of a few breakaway contests.
Why do we feel the need to settle games this way? What’s wrong with two teams playing to a tie? I miss the days when each game was worth 2 points: 2 points for a win, 0 for a loss, and if each team plays 65 minutes and one can’t outdo the other, they each get 1 apiece.
Let’s also not forget the embarrassment poor Orlov and other players have felt when their attempts go awry.
I know the shootout was put in to give games a sense of finality and to make things more exciting, and it’s worked. I’ll sit on the edge of my seat and watch each shooter with anticipation, but it’s not how games should be decided.
What’s your take on shootouts? Leave a comments, or tweet me @AdamLanger.