Image (1) garybettman3-thumb-250x169-15686.jpg for post 2542

Gary Bettman says the shootout is here to stay


Love it or hate it, one thing’s for certain — the shootout isn’t going anywhere.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made that abundantly clear in speaking with the Associated Press, citing league research and his own experiences.

“All the research that we do on a regular basis tells us overwhelmingly our fans like the shootout,” Bettman said during All-Star weekend in Ottawa. “We’re looking at numbers in the 70 and 80 percent approval range, which on any question is an extraordinarily high number.

“Anecdotally, I try to go to a game at least once in every building, and when you see an overtime game that goes to the shootout, the reaction in the building is sensational. Everybody’s on their feet.”

While the shootout isn’t an every-night occurrence, it does appear with some frequency. According to STATS LLC, 164 of the 735 games this season have been tied after three periods, meaning 22.3 percent of games have been of the three-point variety.

Of those 164 games, 95 have been decided by a shootout — a 58 percent clip, slightly higher than the post-lockout average of 56. Ergo, a significant amount of points are being decided by what some purists consider a gimmick.

“I have mixed feelings about it,” Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price told the AP. “The shootout is very random, because it’s not really involving the whole team. I think that’s probably the most difficult thing, so if you have a core group of guys that aren’t doing well in the shootout, then there’s a lot of blame on certain people.

“But it is better than having nobody win the game. I think at the end of the day you’re trying to sell tickets and being able to give a result to somebody is probably pretty good.”

The shootout has yielded some interesting results this season. Colorado is the gold standard — the Avs are a perfect 7-0, scoring 12 goals while allowing just four — while New Jersey has benefited the most, winning eight times (while losing just twice.) Detroit, 5-0 in the shootout, joins Colorado as the only undefeated team this season.

On the other end of the spectrum? Montreal is 1-7, St. Louis is 1-6 and Carolina holds the distinction of being the lone NHL team without a shootout win this season.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
1 Comment

The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
Leave a comment

The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?