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Krupa’s no fan of the shootout

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.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



While I agree in theory, in practice this is never going to happen.  Why?  Because parity was the point of Bettman’s machinations, and re-instituting the actual tie would make a mockery of a league that wants parity, mostly because after the 100th time a teams record read (27-20-35) where the tie was the most populated category, people would start laughing.

So by having the completely-ridiculous shootout Bettman can claim that teams are actually winning or losing games when in reality they aren’t.  They’re winning the skills competition at the end of the game.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/11/13 at 04:30 AM ET


As an aside, the only way to make winning matter more is to stop giving points for losing.  2 points when you win in regulation.  1 point if you win in overtime or the shootout, 0 points if you lose.

Honestly, if you want to chase passive, defensively-focused hockey out of the game, the way to solve ties is to stop giving points for them.  Make ‘games lost’ a tiebreaker category like regulation and OT wins are now and give out 2 points for a regulation win and 1 point for an OT win. 

If the game ends in a tie, nobody gets anything.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/11/13 at 04:35 AM ET


As a double aside, you could even theoretically keep the SO and then just use that as a standings tiebreaker category instead of games lost.  A team would still get no points for tying, but they’d get the sticker for winning the SO at the end as a door prize.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/11/13 at 04:38 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

They’ll probably never get rid of it but it’s gimicky bull$hit. Keep it in the minors but go back to ties. I sat through a lot of ties back in the day and never left the rink wishing they settled it with a skills competition so I can get my win or loss. It’s silly
How if other sports did this:
MLB: One extra inning then a home run derby.
NBA: One extra quarter then a slam dunk contest.
Golf: One extra hole then a long drive contest.
Soccer: Ummm… who cares

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/11/13 at 07:56 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

I’m in the minority too. There is nothing wrong with a tie. For a regular season game, sometimes there is just no need for a winner every game. The regular season is a marathon, the top eight teams in each conference that accumulate the most points get to participate in the post-season. Pretty simple.

Now, if as suggested above, they go to a straight win / loss system, there is no need for points at all. Most wins and you’re in the playoffs. Then tie-breaks can go to head-to-head, goal differential, away goals, or whatever. That type of system might be ok too. But this four and five columns of types of wins and losses shite has got to go, and it can take the shoot-out with it.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 04/11/13 at 08:16 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I’m with you George. Regular season ties do not bug me. I’d much rather go back to the old system of 2 points for a win, one for a tie, and one for a loss. Cut all the extra columns and confusing standings tie-breakers out.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/11/13 at 08:29 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Soccer: Ummm… who cares

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/11/13 at 07:56 AM ET

Soccer shootouts expose exactly what is wrong about shootouts in an exaggerated form.  The goalie has to guess what the shooter is going to do, usually guesses wrong, and the shooter has a goal as big as the broad side of a barn to shoot at.  Hockey is more forgiving in that respect but it’s still the same issue more or less.

But what has really bothered me about the shootout is this:

We had a year and half long lockout to institute a salary cap so teams couldn’t amass too much talent…

...and then we brought in a tie breaking system that rewards the team with better hands.  Just seems like a conflict of interests to me.

Not too mention I’ve seen too many teams fight for a tie with superior squads, just to get jobbed in the shootout.  Super lame.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/11/13 at 08:30 AM ET

gt500x's avatar

I’m indifferent on shoot-outs but I can’t stand the loser point.  Next thing you know,  we’ll be handing out stars to everyone just for participating in the game.  No win, no points. NO points for losers!

Posted by gt500x on 04/11/13 at 08:47 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’m indifferent on shoot-outs but I can’t stand the loser point.  Next thing you know,  we’ll be handing out stars to everyone just for participating in the game.  No win, no points. NO points for losers!
Posted by gt500x on 04/11/13 at 08:47 AM ET

NICE! Maybe all teams should get into the playoffs. Shhhh….  don’t let Bettman here about this brilliant idea.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/11/13 at 08:55 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I hate ties. Hate them. I like how the NBA and MLB make them play till someone wins.
I wish the NHL would do that. Play 4-on-4 for 10 minutes, then 3-on-3 till someone scores.
If the players don’t like it, and it adds more wear-and-tear to the season, who cares?
Unless the game is out of hand by the end of two periods, every coach plays to get to OT. All of them.

So if coaches know they have to play to win or lose, with no extra craptacular, sister-kissing extra point is up for grabs, maybe they’ll actually try to play for a win in 60 minutes.
Maybe they’ll actually let their forwards cross the redline when they’re not on the powerplay, or maybe (GOSH!) they’d actually have TWO forecheckers putting pressure on the dmen. Imagine that!!

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/11/13 at 09:08 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I like how the NBA and MLB make them play till someone wins.

the NBA is a two scores every 30 seconds game, which makes it a completely different animal than the NHL and not at all valid for comparison.

in baseball, the extra playing time is only wear and tear on the pitchers.  again, a different animal.

hockey is extremely hard on the players.  endless overtimes in the NHL would happen WAY too often.  look at how often they happen in the playoffs and extrapolate that to the regular season.  it would be the equivalent of teams playing an extra half dozen games.  we’ve seen this season what making the players play more in less time has done, do we want this kind of injury-plagued debacle EVERY regular season?

the real issue here, gimmick or not, is some games counting for 3 points, some for 2 points.  that’s the problem.  it makes the standings artificially close, which gives an artificial impression of parity - making Bettman’s idiotic changes SEEM successful when they really aren’t.

the solution is simple.  ALL games should count for 3 points.

Reg Win: 3
OT/SO Win: 2
OT/SO Loss: 1
Reg Loss: 0

it solves both problems.  teams will have something to play for in regulation - the extra third point.  it also means every game is 3 points, not some 3 some 2.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/11/13 at 10:07 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

PaulinMiamiBeach, I totally agree with you. The endless OT’s would wreak havoc on players throughout an 82-game season.
I’m fully aware that my desire for a clear winner is unrealistic (some might argue that with how the game is played today - football on ice - an 82-game sked is insane).

And I’ve been rallying for a 3-point system for a while too. I just don’t think it’ll happen.
Why? Because the NHL loves it’s FALSE parity.

Teams can go 0-0-10 and tell their fans “We’re .500!”. Sure, you never won ONE game in 10, but you are .500.
And with how the schedule is setup (ever notice how the bad teams always seem to get 3 days off, and then in their next game, they’re playing a great team coming off a 4 games in 5 nights road stretch?), the NHL has helped create far more parity than their fancy CBA ever will.

That’s why this system will never change. The shootout and 3-point OT/SO games will continue to exist while teams that can handle their business in 60-min will still get the shaft.

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/11/13 at 10:14 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

A shootout is almost as arbitrary and meaningless as giving the tie-breaker extra point to whichever team had the most SOG during the game.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/11/13 at 10:24 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

or hell, even a 4 point system would work well:

Reg win: 4
OT win: 3
SO win: 2
SO loss: 2
OT loss: 1
Reg loss: 0


Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/11/13 at 10:42 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

I’m in the minority too.

I’m also in the minority, agreeing with 100% of the posts on this thread saying I’d prefer to get rid of the shootout.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 04/11/13 at 10:51 AM ET


cough five wins for Columbus this season cough

Don’t remember you coughing so hard last year when the Wings’ record was extremely inflated by OT and shootout wins.  In fact, I remember you heralding the Wings’ 23-game home winning streak when normal people wanted to put an * next to it. 

Even KH bought into it.  He liked his team “We were the top seed in the west until a week before the trade deadline.”  Why was that Ken?  All you had to do was look at OT and shootout games.  Decent observers knew the Wings were a fraud and not built for the playoffs.  Why didn’t you?

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/11/13 at 11:07 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I hate to throw out giftwrapped excuses for KH and the brass…but could it simply be that they didn’t want to make any moves this year because they have NO idea how their team is going to measure up in the Eastern Conference next year, and want to wait and see?  they could make moves to make them better this year, and then find out next year they were the completely wrong moves.  just a thought.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/11/13 at 11:17 AM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Man, this is a real sore spot for me. I remember back before they started the shootout. I used to get so pissed when a game would end in a tie. It used to feel like I watched the game for nothing. When I heard that they wanted to end ties and make sure there was a winner every game I was happy. But when I found out that they wanted to ensure a winner via the shootout, I was not so happy. I absolutely hate the shootout. I have since they brought it into the NHL. It’s a stupid way to determine a winner in a TEAM sport.

The thing I absolutely detest about the shootout (and overtime for that matter) is the fact that the loser gets a point. That is the dumbest shit ever. There is no way a team should be rewarded a point in the standings and potentially making the playoffs BY LOSING. No other league in the history of anything has ever rewarded losing (tee ball doesn’t count).

All these 3-point games are bullshit, and skew the standings tremendously. It makes teams think they’re better than they actually are, just like jkm2011 said. A team can be 10-10-5 and say they’re .500? Uh, no. You’re 10-15. You have a losing record. It’s ridiculous.

And no, the solution isn’t going to an “all games are 3-point games system”. You go to a “2 for a win, 0 for a loss” system. You have a Win column and a Loss column. Just like every other sport. Hell, I would even be in favor of switching to the “games back” method of determining the standings. But the way it works now blows.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 04/11/13 at 11:28 AM ET


but could it simply be that they didn’t want to make any moves this year because they have NO idea how their team is going to measure up in the Eastern Conference next year, and want to wait and see?

It doesn’t address the Filppula/White/Cleary situations though, and it really only works if you assume they will not sign or buy out anyone in the off-season.

Posted by Garth on 04/11/13 at 11:41 AM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Since the NHL insists on using the shootout as a means of determining a winner of the game, they should make it more game/hockey related rather than the gimmick that it is now.

Make it a break away challenge by having the shooter start from the center ice dot with a defender chasing from, let’s say, the top of the circles or blue line.  It would be just like an actual break away during a game.  It would also prevent the spinorammas and bullshit slow-motion that Patty Kane does.

Would it work?

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 04/11/13 at 12:49 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I actually enjoy the shootout, but I can’t stand the point for losing. You lost. You get nothing.  Sucks that it took over 65 minutes for you to lose, but you did.  Go enjoy your orange slices in the locker room.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/11/13 at 03:25 PM ET

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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.