Shootouts have been taken down a peg. Opinions and a math problem follow the jump.
Shootouts. Gimmicky? Sure. Part of the game? Unfortunately, yes to that too. However, there’s rumblings within the ranks that the shootout happens too often, and some are getting tired of the skills competition like setting that ends a game after 65 minutes of play.
According to E.J. Hradek, the league will approve a new rule in September that will devalue shootout victories should a team finish in a tie-breaker situation at the end of the regular season.
What this means is : Let’s say by some crazy chance Edmonton is fighting for an 8th playoff seed and finish tied with Colorado for the 8th seed with 90 points. Let’s also say that both teams have the same amount of wins on the regular season. Now, let’s say that Edmonton has nine wins by way of shootout, and the Avalanche have eight.
Colorado would win the tie-breaker because they have one less shootout victory on the season. An even wilder situation that could occur would be if Edmonton had say, 40 wins, and Colorado had say, 38, and both teams finish with the same amount of points. This really isn’t that hard to do now, seeing as how you get a point in the standings for losing in overtime or a shootout. Under previous circumstances, Edmonton would be awarded the plaoyff berth as they had more regular season wins than Colorado.
Say Edmonton has ten shootout victories, and Colorado has 9. Congratulations, Avalanche, you’re headed to the playoffs because you had one less shootout victory than Edmonton.
This discussion probably will not happen this year, as it assumes that Edmonton will be within sniffing distance of a playoff game.
It’s a small step in the right direction. The league needs to learn that it’s just fine to have games end in a tie. Some great games have been played to 1-1 finishes. It seems wasteful to take a game where two netminders battle 65 minutes only to end it in a gimmicky shootout ending.
One of the greatest performances ever was the March, 1991 matchup between the Bruins and the Nordiques where Ron Tugnutt saved 70 shots out of 73 in a 65 minute period. I’m a hockey history guy, so I’ve got to ask: Would we talk about this game if it went to a shootout, and two quick ones were scored by Craig Janney and Cam Neely?
Is this new rule the first last call for the shootout?