Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I hate shootouts

The title is self-explanatory. Settling regular season games with a shootout — games that determine whether teams get into the playoffs or not — is a very poor way to go. According to the latest issue of The Hockey News, however, shootouts are the way of the future. THN senior editor Sam McCaig talked about the issue in his column yesterday:
It's reported in this week's Dec. 21 edition of The Hockey News that whenever the NHL does return to action, the shootout will be included...The shootout would be used to break ties, during the regular season only, if the five-minute overtime period failed to produce a winner. The editorial in The Hockey News supports the introduction of the shootout, describing it as a victory for fans.
McCaig goes on to say that personally he disagrees with the editorial (which likely caused more than a few thumb wars between he and THN overlord Jason Kay):
It says here that shootouts do not belong in the NHL. Never ever. The best hockey league in the world should not lower itself to a cheap gimmick to decide games. The best team-based league in the world should not lower itself to an individual competition to decide games.
From my vantage point as a traditional guy who doesn't like four on four hockey (or circus time as Vancouver broadcaster Dan Russell calls it), the shootout is pandering to the lowest common denominator. There are plenty of things that would be exciting in hockey — line brawls come to mind — that shouldn't be incorporated as a key component of play. The shootout is one of them.

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