The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/11/13 at 02:57 AM ET
I'm in the minority here, but I like ties in sports. I like ties in sports because there really are instances when neither team's performance has merited a "win," and, perhaps as in life, there ain't no shame in shooting for a tie.
However, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa suggests, the invention and adoption of the shootout does more than ensure that fans paying $50-250+ per ticket leave the rink with a result including a "winner" and "loser." The fact that a shootout win earns teams two points encourages teams to "shoot for a tie," playing incredibly defensively-oriented and plain old boring-to-watch hockey knowing that, should they nurse a tie for 65 minutes, they've got an even chance of earning two points via what is nothing more than a skills competition (cough five wins for Columbus this season cough).
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa absolutely despises shootouts, and especially given that we've seen the NHL more liberally and liberally deem Patrick Kane's stops-and-start, Kaspars Daugavans' toe-pick-the-puck spin, and, as Krupa notes, more and more spin-o-ramas that involve players skating into goaltenders and then pushing both goalie and puck into the net to be just as legal as the Datsyukian deke...
And Krupa believes that the NHL needs to find more means to encourage teams to win games by skating against each other instead of sending one skater in on a goalie. Krupa has an ally in Wings GM Ken Holland:
Eight years after it was instituted by the NHL to prevent tie games in the regular season and increase the popularity of the game, it is well past time to call a charade a charade. End the shootout. Either that, or as Ken Holland suggested in 2008, at least institute two rounds of overtime before going to the shoot-out.
"If you do a dry scrape of the ice with two Zambonis, it takes about six minutes," said Holland, who knows, because he once asked Al Sobotka and his staff at Joe Louis Arena to undertake the task and timed them. Clean ice, two overtime periods. You can go four-on-four, then three-on-three."
In the first eight years,shootouts have determined the results of about 12-15 percent of games.
"It is my belief that more and more games are going to be decided by a shootout," Holland said. "There is more parity this year than there was last year, and there will be more parity next year than there was this year."
Holland brought his proposal before the NHL Board of Governors five years ago and he was forced to settle for a small victory in 2010: Shootout victories are not counted in the first tiebreaker to determine the standings. Regardless, wins in shoot-outs still count for points.
Some have suggested that a 3-2-1 points system, in which 3 points are awarded for a regulation win, 2 are awarded for an OT or shootout win, and 1 is awarded for an OT or shootout loss, might be a better alternative.
Somewhat ironically, Krupa found that one of the Wings' shotoout specialists, and a master of the semi-legal spin-o-rama, doesn't want to be at the receiving end of a shootout loss that would wipe a team from playoff contention, which is exactly what happened when the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers during the last game of both teams' 2009-2010 regular seasons. As you might recall, the Flyers went on to play for the Stanley Cup that season.
"You know that it's going to come down to two guys with the playoffs on their sticks, at some point," said Todd Bertuzzi, of the Red Wings, who is 16-for-43, or 37.2 percent, in career shootout attempts. "I'd feel sorry for whoever it is. No one wants to be one of them?"
Krupa continues at some length, as you might expect.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.