Home > Uncategorized > To Shoot or Not To Shoot…

To Shoot or Not To Shoot…

Yesterday a strange situation evolved on the NHL’s penultimate day. In a game for the final playoff spot in the East, Philadelphia beat New York in a shootout to send the Rangers home for the summer and the Flyers to the playoffs.

Naturally, this has led to histrionics about how a playoff spot could be determined by something as capricious as a shootout. I should, I guess, preface my thoughts on this topic by admitting that I feel about shootouts the way Elin Woods feels about pancake house waitresses. Why do I have such animosity towards shootouts? Well, it might have something to do with England in 1996. Or it might have something to do with Canada in 1998, or England in 2004, or possibly England in 2006. Who can say?

The point is that I hate shootouts. I also dislike gimmicky endings to games. So, when the NHL implemented the four-on-four overtime, followed by shootouts to determine tie games I saw it as exactly what it was… a flailing half court heave by a league suffering from flagging interest. Honestly, it was no worse than MLB adding interleague games in 1997, but it just felt like appeasing the attention deficit with monkey’s lighting fireworks.

In the end however, it seems to have worked. The overtime has a little more oomph and the shootout, while gimmicky, has brought an extra element of excitement. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I enjoy the concept, I will hedge away from saying it’s an abomination.

So, I would hate to see the NHL overreact to this flukey situation. How likely is it that we will see another season end with two teams playing each other in the final game fighting for a playoff spot? Then, how likely is it that those two teams will not be able to settle things in 60 minutes of ice time?

Does it suck that the Rangers lost a shootout to end their season? Yes, yes it does, but they did have 81 other games to get the job done and they did have 60 minutes in which to knock off the Flyers. They didn’t, so it came down to the gimmick. Such is life. It’s not quite like England losing two straight tournaments to the Portuguese on stupid, f***ing, lame, a$$, penalties. Whew… breath deep, breath deep…

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