Off the record: It’s time to abolish the shootout

The Canadian World Junior Hockey team and the hockey community at large was robbed when the Gold Medal game went to a shootout.

Imagine watching one of the best hockey games of your lifetime. One team will take two, two-goal leads and spoil them both while trading shot for shot through 60 minutes. The two combatants will then go to overtime, once again travelling to the pinnacle of excitement in sport, making even the average viewer test their heart rate for safety. Still, after 80 minutes, no victor is determined so they flip a coin to determine who will be the championship.

Sounds ludicrous right?

That’s actually not so different than the way the IIHF determined the Gold Medal in this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship in the final game between Canada and the United States. This is because they used the shootout in order to eventually award the Gold Medal to the American team for the top under-20 team in the world.

To start with, as a Canadian, there will be an inherent bias to the argument that the shootout is and was an idiotic way to determine the champion of one of the best, most exciting, hockey games of a lifetime.

That said, this author is of the opinion that the shootout is a horrific way to decide any hockey game no matter who is playing. It’s not exactly that shootouts themselves are stupid or unexciting. They’re certainly not. No doubt there has been countless highlights extracted from the NHL since the 2004-05 lockout when the shootout was introduced with players like Pavel Datsyuk and Peter Forsberg creating their own signature moves, which players have tried to emulate throughout the years in hopes of sharing the same success.

Rather, it’s the fact that it’s an incredibly stupid and anticlimactic way to determine a hockey game. In the NHL, the shootout was introduced as a tactic to bring in new fans who wanted a fresh taste to their viewing experience and for a year or two it was a lot of fun. Instead though it became a goaltending spectacle with only 32 per cent of shooters actually scoring on their penalty shots. The excitement is in the goals and if players are more often than not not scoring, you’ll lose the excitement of the event.

Adding on to this, shootouts have little to do with how skilled a team is at hockey in the grand scheme of things. Looking at the top shootout teams through the 2016-17 season, you’ll see teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks on top with the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals in the bottom five. Look at the actual standings and you’ll see that top shootout performers certainly don’t align with top teams in the league.

Furthermore, taking a look at the top individual shootout performers from this season, you’ll come across names like Vincent Trochek, Aleksander Barkov, Jakub Voracek and Mark Letestu—certifiable NHLers for sure, but not exactly the world class hockey players that should be adding points to a team that may make or miss the playoffs by a few points at the end of the year.

What it creates instead are shootout specialists such as team USA forward Troy Terry who scored the Gold Medal match’s only goal in the shootout after scoring three times in a shootout in their semi-final matchup versus Russia to send them to the championship game two days prior.

“To lose that game in a shootout, especially, it’s harder than last year,” said Thomas Chabot to Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur. “I would have rather kept going. We got so many chances in the overtime, and to get in the shootout, it’s not really something we can control. We’re 22 guys on our team, and there’s only two guys on the ice.”

I’m sure there are some no doubt that would make the argument that because there was no victor determined after 20 minutes of sudden death overtime, that a shootout was needed as a method to end the madness. But it truly doesn’t make sense.

Why stop something unnecessarily that’s so good? Why not have your cake and eat it too?

 

 

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read