I despise the shootout. I might be in the minority, but if I was NHL tsar for a day, it would be the first thing I would change. My feelings are totally based on the Canes six year futility at this made for TV, skills competition. I say six years because the Canes were 8-2 in the 2005/2006 Stanley Cup year. I was in the RBC center when Cam Ward stopped Mario Lemieux, Ziggy Palffy, and a rookie named Crosby to give the Canes a 3-2 win over the Penguins. It would be Cam’s only shoot-out that year. Since that season the Canes have gone 15-29. These lost points have cost the Canes not one, but two playoff appearances.
In the 2007/2008 the Canes led the Southeast division for most of the season. They needed one win to close out the upstart Washington Capitals and claim the third seed in the Eastern conference playoffs. As fans remember, the Hurricanes lost the final game of the season to Florida, 4-3, despite out shooting the Panthers 46-17. If the Canes had won a shootout with the Capitals 12 days earlier, that one point would have given them the division. The Canes went 2-3 in shootouts for the year. The Canes lost a playoff birth in 2011 to the New York Rangers when they lost 6-2 to the Lightning in game 82. Twelve days earlier they had blown a third period lead to the Rangers by trying to play “let’s hold onto the lead” Mo hockey and were forced to a shootout. They lost that shootout giving New York the extra point. Change that point around and the Canes and Rangers tie with 92 points. The Canes held the tiebreaker. The Rangers went 9-3 in the shootout that year. If the Hurricanes are to push for a playoff birth this year, (which is what everyone wants /expects), they will have to do better than the four shootout goals they scored this past year. Without improvement the Canes take the chance of being knocked out of the post season by the likes of Victor Kozlov and Wojtek Wolski.
The two free agent names that are being talked about by Hurricanes fans could help in this area. Old friend Ray Whitney scored six goals and had a 54.5% success rate in the shootout. The “Wizard” scored the game winner with half of his goals. P. A. Parenteau has gone 4 for 14 in the shootout during the past two seasons with two game winners. No matter who Jim Rutherford acquires, let’s hope that one of the many things they add to the team, is a shootout threat.