Is the Curtain Closing on the NHL Shootout?
by Josh Birkhead
With the addition of the Shootout after the 05/06 lockout, it appeared Hockey had finally come up with an intuitive way to prevent games ending as a draw.
This was an extended attempt of the NHL to reach out and turn casual fans into diehards. There is something strangely appealing watching insanely skilful players against, let’s face it, a keeper who has to commit and hope.
Up steps Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, who has stated from the outset that he would like to see the removal of Shootouts and replace it with an extended 3 on 3 OT. This would allow the Tarasenko’s of the world to showcase to the fans what they can do in open ice. It also caters for the diehard hockey fans who would prefer a game to be decided on a pure hockey team move.
Holland is gaining support from some of his peers and this is seen in the Hockey landscape as it is being trialled in the AHL. If it runs smoothly and it provides a good product for the fans, I can certainly see it working its way into the NHL maybe not next year but quite possibly for the season after that.
Of course the removal of the Shootout will be welcomed with open arms up in New Jersey as they dropped all 13 Shootouts last year. But St Louis may be left feeling blue due to their eye popping 75% record from last season.
Truthfully I think we will be witness to the twilight years of the Shootout. However, I think we won’t realise what we have till it’s gone.
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