Edmonton’s rookie Linus Omark scored the shootout winning goal against Tampa Bay in their December 10 contest. It was a quality highlight reel goal which you can check out HERE. There was some debate after the game as to whether the rookie was disrespecting the opposition and the game attempting such a flashy goal so early in his career. I personally do not know what all the fuss was about. I have seen ten times more flashy moves in shootouts over the years.
Shootouts are stupid and it is not just because the Bruins always loose them. Points are always at a premium in the NHL and jobs are saved or lost by very small margins. Whether or not your favorite team makes the playoffs or stays home should not be decided by who has more skilled breakaway artists.
But TV needs a winner every night and fans generally like the shootouts so they are here to stay. Here is how to make them better. Tom Caron brought this one up on the show, but let the players go helmet-less in the shootouts. If you fall and crack open your head in the shootout, shame on you. Additionally, regulation wins should worth three points in the standings, overtime and shootout wins worth two, and an overtime loss worth one. This way teams that win hockey games the old fashioned way (scoring more goals in regulation) will be adequately rewarded.
And do not even get us started on the proliferation of penalty shoot calls! The refs are definitely out of control with those.