Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pros-Cons of the Shootout!

1) OK, we will be up front with our readers and tell them we were NOT advocates of this way of ending tie games before last season started, but as we have seen more of these we have come around to begrudgingly accept them as part of the game, and the excitement they do produce for the fans

2) Almost all agree that a tie usually wasn't a good way to have a game end. The NHL was really the only major North American sport that allowed large number of ties each year. The 5 minute OT reduced the number by about 25% or so, but still many games stayed deadlocked, thus the apparent need to decide games without further playing(television) time.

3) The problem we have, and many other hockey 'purists' have with the shootout, is that many games are no longer decided by true hockey. There are many factors and strategies that determine the winner of an NHL hockey game. Juggling lines. Quick shifts to compensate for tired legs. Icing calls leading to critical face-offs in an opponent's zone late in the game. Power-play combinations. Penalty-killing combinations, etc. A shoot out uses merely a minuscule part of what NHL hockey is all about.

4) There appears no correlation between a teams success in non shoot out games and shoot outs. Some very good teams have very poor shoot out records, and vise versa. It may not have occurred last season, but we can envision a time when team A will fail to make the playoffs because they had a shoddy shootout record. Eclipsed by Team B with a good shoot out record, even though team A had a better record when playing 'real hockey'.

5) As some have written, this would akin to baseball having a home run contest after a regulation tie. Football a field goal contest. Or basketball having a slam dunk or 3 point competition. All would be popular with fans, but they wouldn't be fair tests of the 'better team'.

6) so the question is: Which is more important: Integrity/fairness of the game or entertainment? We believe we have already been told what the NHL's answer is to this. For good or bad, the shoot out is likely here to stay.

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