March 31, 2012

Why the Shoot-Out Needs to Go: In the Words of a Flyer’s Fan

Today’s game against the Ottawa Senators was exactly why the shootout needs to done away with. After battling back from a 3-0 first period deficit and dominating the overtime, the Flyer’s were once again done in by the shootout. In most people’s opinions, the shoot out is nothing more than a glorified skills competition that decides the winner and loser of an official game.

While everyone in Philadelphia, and New York, remembers it was a shootout win on the last day of the regular season back in 2009 that got the Flyers into the playoffs and onto the Stanley Cup finals. However, it would have been a much more incredible feat to see that game go deeper into overtime or multiple overtimes rather than the shootout.

On the year, the Flyer’s are 4-9 in shootouts and 6-2 in games decided in overtime. So in total, they are 10-11 in games decided beyond regulation. Lets hypothetically imagine that there were no shootouts this year in the NHL and each game ended in a tie after a 4th 20 minute period. How would such a scenario help the Flyer’s? In two main ways.

First, some of those 9 losses could have easily become wins if the overtime was longer than 5 minutes. While it is inevitable that some of these games would still be loses, eliminating the shootout would probably add about 4-6 points to the Flyer’s point total this year. This could easily be the difference between home ice advantage, a division title, and 3rd in the division/5th in the conference. Obviously, this would be incredibly beneficial to the team this season.

Second, other teams with a large amount of shootout wins, such as the Penguins and Devils, division rivals, would not have as many points as they currently do. With 9 and 12 shootout wins on the season respectively, the Penguins could easily be below the Flyer’s in current standings and the Devils may not even be in the playoff picture without the shootout!

Everyone, especially those in the Philadelphia region are thrilled that the shootout hasn’t invaded the playoffs( and likely won’t ever) However, the NHL needs to get rid of its’ experiment and go back to its old overtime rules for the regular season. Having a concurrent overtimes until someone scores in the regular season, like in the playoffs, doesn’t seem feasible due to travel and games on back to back days during the regular season.

Bottom line, lets hope the shootout is gone very soon!

- Michael Joachim