Shootouts: Too much of a good thing?
It's seems everyone's aflutter with talk of the shootout today, with Pierre LeBrun of the Canadian Press penning this opus on the shootout specialist, The Globe on Hockey troupe debating the merits of the exercise, and TSN's Darren Dreger analyzing the move Ducks' rookie Ryan Shannon tried on on Sunday night.
But the one thing I wonder, two weeks into the 2006-07 season, is if shootouts are simply having too big of an impact on the standings. There have been 15 of them so far after just 76 games, which means nearly 20 per cent of games are ending in what is essentially a skills competition drill.
Last season in 1,230 games, there were only 145 shootouts — 11.79 per cent of games.
Whether that increase is due to the small sample size, a decrease in scoring or the fact that some teams are playing for shootouts because of their relative success in them, that's difficult to determine.
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur gets to the heart of all this in LeBrun's piece:
"I understand the entertainment value is huge," said Brodeur, a member of the league's competition committee. "What I'm scared of is that there are so many now, will it lose its glamour as the years go on? The fans love it now but will they in five years?"Who knows — but my guess is this is something the NHL will look at addressing when that excitement level does wane. Personally, I think a 10-minute overtime session and a change to the standings breakdown (in the manner Eric Duhatschek is suggesting) is the way to go.