Tag: shootout

iginla sutter

Iginla defends Sutter’s contentious shootout choices

The Calgary Flames went into last night’s shootout against Minnesota clinging to their playoff lives.

Then things got interesting.

Head coach Brent Sutter chose his shooters — Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Blair Jones and Blake Comeau — and left Calgary’s four leading scorers (Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen) on the pine.

Then Calgary lost the shootout.

That drew the ire of Flames fans, many of whom called in to sports radio shows Friday to voice their displeasure.

One person that didn’t have a problem with Sutter’s shootout choices? One of the snubs — Iginla.

“Whatever Brent sees at the time or wants to go with,” Calgary’s captain told the Globe and Mail. “We’ve had a lot of opportunity. I’ve had some good opportunities and haven’t been able to be above .500 in those. Whoever gets called, you’re doing your best to score there.

“We don’t look at any guys who missed there and think, ‘You let us down.’ We all let each other down.”

What remains unclear is why Sutter opted for those shooters. Stajan, Comeau and Stempniak were a combined 0-for-5 heading into last night — assistant coach Craig Hartsburg said it was a “roll the dice” strategy, but even that fails to explain why Jokinen (who leads the Flames with three shootout goals) wasn’t involved.

At least he’s scored one this year.

All told, Calgary would probably be fine with eliminating the shootout altogether. The Flames are 3-9 in the skills competition and their .250 winning percentage is 29th in the NHL — only Carolina, which has yet to win a shootout (0-6), has fared worse. If the Flames fall short of the playoffs, they’ll likely rue all those blown extra points.

Gary Bettman says the shootout is here to stay

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

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.

Sharks edge Canucks 3-2 via shootout win

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton

All the regular season wins in 2011-12 won’t erase the pain of the stanchion-assisted 2011 Western Conference Finals defeat, but it’s the best measure of revenge the San Jose Sharks can manage against the Vancouver Canucks in January. They edged their hated rivals 3-2 (SO) in a great game to introduce the NBC Sports Network.

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Video: Should Briere’s shootout goal have counted?

Los Angeles Kings v Philadelphia Flyers

The NHL rulebook says that a player cannot come to a completely stop during a shootout attempt. For anyone who wants to see just how confusing that rule can be, Danny Briere had an attempt where it looked like he may have crossed the line. The play was reviewed by the war room in Toronto and was ruled a legal goal—a decision that not everyone agreed with when it was announced.  The Devils eventually won the shootout (4-3 final), thus minimizing any potential fallout from the questionable call.

Here’s a look at the entire shootout from the Devils/Flyers game—including Briere’s controversial goal.

Shootouts are down throughout the NHL, has league gone far enough?


Few topics will spark as much debate as the shootout. Passionate old-school fans will say it’s a gimmicky skills competition that has no business deciding games. Other fans will say it’s one of the most exciting things in the sport and is a vast improvement upon the dreaded tie that used to decide too many hockey games. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, most people will acknowledge that the shootout is here to stay for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, some attention is being focused on the effect the shootout has on the game as opposed to debating the shootout’s place in the game.

Teams are certainly learning to attack the end of games, overtime, and the shootout in different ways as they acclimate themselves to the change. Since the lockout, we’ve seen coaches start to veer away strictly putting superstars in the skills competition and start putting in guys who simply excel at the shootout. We’ve even seen the genesis of a new term in the hockey fan’s lexicon: “Shootout specialist.” You can decide if that’s a good thing or not.

It was decided by the NHL that something needed to change with the shootout. It wasn’t going anywhere, but they decided to water down the value of those wins that came via shootout. More importantly, they wanted to increase the value of any win that was earned by the entire team on the ice instead of the 1-on-1 showdown. (Of course, when we say “entire team,” we’re including 4-on-4 overtimes). The rule change is simple—and subtle: when two teams are tied at the end of the season, the first tiebreaker will be wins NOT acquired via shootout.

As the season winds down, it looks like the NHL may have succeeded. From NHL.com:

“Through 1,065 games this season, there have been 124 shootouts, a pace that would result in 143 over a full 1,230-game season. That’s a 22 percent drop from the 184 shootouts last season, and two fewer than the 145 in 2005-06, the first season the tiebreaker was used to settle games that were even after overtime.

It’s not that a lot more games are being decided in regulation — the 23.8 percent of games tied after 60 minutes are just slightly fewer than last season’s 24.5 percent (254 so far; 283 over a 1,230-game season, down from 301 in 2009-10), and still more than any of the four previous seasons since the arrival of the shootout. But while 61.1 percent of games that went into overtime last season went to a shootout, that figure is down to 48.8 percent — a number that would be the lowest in the shootout’s six seasons.”

For those fans who want games decided by 5 skaters playing against 5 others, this should be viewed as a positive development. It might not be exactly what they want, but certainly baby steps in the right direction. The games have been extremely exciting and increasingly it appears that teams want to win the game in OT instead of sitting back for the shootout.

Let’s throw this out to the readers. Judging by the statistics, fewer games are being decided in the shootout. Do you think the NHL has gone far enough to discourage teams playing for the shootout or do you think weighing victories as a tiebreaker is enough? We’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.