When you hear an announcer say that you are going to see the most exciting play in hockey, he's absolutely not talking about the Florida Ice Girls combing spray out of George Parros' mustache. What he wants you to do is get your butt off the couch for a penalty shot, you jack wagon!
While the penalty shot might appear to favor the nimble and skilled skater headed toward the net, the percentages say that only 17 players (who took more than five shots) in the entire NHL had a success rate of more than 50 percent.
The penalty shootout to decide games came about to eliminate ties in the event that a game was still tied after five minutes of overtime. The NHL began this practice after their most recent lockout of 2004-05. Part of the new collective bargaining agreement was to ensure that "kissing your sister" could no longer be the end-game result.
84.4 Shootout - During regular-season games, if the game remains tied at the end of the five (5) minute overtime period, the teams will proceed to a shootout. The rules governing the shootout shall be the same as those listed under Rule 24 - Penalty Shot.
The teams will not change ends for the shootout. The home team shall have the choice of shooting first or second. The teams shall alternate shots.
Three (3) players from each team shall participate in the shootout and they shall proceed in such order as the Coach selects. All players are eligible to participate in the shootout unless they are serving a 10-minute misconduct or have been assessed a game misconduct or match penalty.
Those are your shootout guidelines. If you don't know, now you know.
The lower percentage of the NHL shooters has almost as much to do with a failure on the shooters part as much as the netminder's prowess. The goalies, whose pads and protection have evolved into looking like a life-sized children's toy, are often best served just trying to get in the way.
I don't often root for a tie, but honestly, if my team looks like crap, I'll take my chances in the shootout and swipe the one point that comes with it. Every team has players who can dance and dangle with the puck, or hit the top shelf with regularity, but the goalkeepers have clearly owned these moments. Enjoy now!