““I never watch shootouts,” Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher said, after his team beat the Maple Leafs in a shootout. “I never have. Two reasons: One, I hate it. I think it’s a team game, and it should be decided by team play. But I understand that the game has got to end. The other thing, two, is I got into a habit of not looking. It makes no difference if I look or not so I let the guys do their thing. I used to get involved and talk to the guys, ‘Eh you could do this and that.’ Now I stay out of it.”
Boucher has decided he – the coach – has no impact on how his team finishes these games. And he’s not alone around the league.”
He’s not wrong either, and as the rest of the column shows, the number of games being decided by a shootout is back up to about 10% of the games. With the way the NHL distributes points, clearly this gimmick is determining who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.
That’s not great, because it’s really not fair, but also because we are getting very close to the point where teams are going to play regulation into an attempt to tie, and then take your chances in the 3 on 3 OT, or a shootout.
When soccer teams do that, we Americans complain about their “boring” sport. Maybe we shouldn’t reward that in hockey before we reach that point.