October 15, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) stops the Carolina Hurricanes left wing Nathan Gerbe (14) on a shootout attempt at PNC Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In Depth Analysis Of The NHL Shootout

The shootout was put in the NHL as a replacement for ties after the 2004-2005 lockout. The purpose of the shootout is the created an exciting and quick way for a game to end if it passes the five minute overtime. Let’s take a look at the shootout and decide if it’s still the best option for the NHL.


How You Get There

The shootout follows the five minute overtime period, in which both teams play four players instead of five. It’s sudden death, so if a team scores in overtime, that team wins. If neither team scores, the game goes to a shootout.


The Shootout

The shootout is basically a penalty shot competition. The home team chooses who shoots first. The benefit of the away team shooting first is the home team having the final shot of the shootout, which could ultimately decide the fate of the shootout. The benefit of the home team shooting first is the opportunity to get a quick lead, though this is usually pretty risky. A full round of a shootout is when both teams have a player shoot. The coach selects the players that go for his team. The Shootout is designed to be three rounds, but if a winner doesn’t emerge form that, the shootout keeps going. At that point, if the first team scores, the second team will have an opportunity to answer back. If the first team doesn’t score, the second team has the opportunity to score and win. The winner gets two points in the standings while the loser gets one point.


The Good About The Shootout

What’s good about the shootout is that it is a quick and entertaining way to end a game. Shootouts usually don’t take more than a few minutes, so for that purpose, the shootout is a good option. It gets fans on their feet and excited as well. You also get to see some of the best players in hockey square off one on one against one of the best goalies in hockey.


The Bad About The Shootout

The shootout has a considerable amount of bad in it as well. The biggest one for me is that hockey is a team game, and I don’t see how a shootout is implementing a team game. It’s a skills competition of penalty shots. This does not support the team aspect that hockey is, or should be, all about. Another problem with the NHL’s shootout is that the losing team gets jipped, so to speak, out of an extra point. I think it’s absurd that you work that hard as a team to get to a shootout and then you only get one point in the standings because you didn’t win the skills competition.


The Best Teams In The Shootout

Since 2005, the list of shootout win leaders goes like this:

2005-2006: Dallas Stars- 12 S.O. wins

2006-2007: Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres- 10 S.O. wins

2007-2008: Edmonton Oilers- 15 S.O. wins

2008-2009: New York Rangers- 10 S.O. wins

2009-2010: Phoenix Coyotes- 14 S.O. wins

2010-2011: Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins- 10 S.O. wins

2011-2012: New Jersey Devils- 12 S.O. wins

2013(shortened season, 48 games total): San Jose Sharks- 8 S.O. wins

In review, the season win leader for shootouts averages about 12 wins in the shootout. That means 12 extra points, which can be the difference between a fringe playoff teams and the number one seed in a conference. (Note, I did not include San Jose in the average due to the shortened season.)


Substitutes For The Shootout

In the playoffs, there are just 20 minute, four on four periods until someone wins, this could be a viable option for the regular season as well. Another option would be a three on three period of hockey following the four on four. I’m not a big fan of the three on three, but it would be an option.Both of these still implement a team game, more so with the four on four. The other option would be going back to the older method of ties. Both teams receive the same number of points in a tie. This would also be a fair method of doing it.


What do you think ‘Canes fans? Is the shootout something you would like to keep seeing in the NHL? Or do you want to see more of overtime and less of the shootout?

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