Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stupid Shootouts

I'm sick of the shootout.

You've heard both sides of the argument before.

One side says it's great for the game. It's great to showcase the talent of the stars in the League. It decides ties in a timely manner. It's exciting. I mean, we've seen some pretty dazzling goals in the shootout, like Marek Malik's stunner through the legs in the umpteenth round against the Washington Capitals, or Mike Ribeiro's through-the-legs-one-handed-shot, or Brad Boyes' sheer dangles on a few occasions.

But I'm just sick of it.

There's only so many times you can dedicate your life to a hockey game, watch a really good one go down to the wire, head to overtime, and just get the feeling that you're destined to go to a shootout. So many tight checking games with low scores go to shootouts where the tight checking is out of everyone's hands. It's up to a skills competition to decide it.

Case in point, tonight's affair between the Penguins and Capitals.

That's not fair.

For those who do or don't know, I'm a Flyers fan. I know for a fact that the sole reason the Flyers made it to the playoffs was because of a shootout on the last game of the season. It was an unforgettable moment. But that isn't how it should have happened, in the true spirit of the game. I can't say I'm a hockey purist, but what I can say is if a game is an example of hard work, then let the hard work continue. Let overtime be five more minutes. Ten minutes of 4-on-4 will give a better chance for a game to end.

Five minutes is enough to make a sandwich, but it's not enough to solve a hockey game.

Make the overtime longer. We'll see less of this shootout gimmick, and more hockey games solved by the game of hockey itself. If a team is more of a grinding team, let them grind out the win. If a team is more of a skill team, let them dazzle you to the win. But don't make it a skills competition. Because it's not in the spirit of the game.

Do you think shootouts should exist?

I don't think so at all.

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