Is the shootout really the answer or just a joke?
The NHL first adapted the shootout to settle regular season games for the 2005-06 season.
At the time, many fans were complaining about the number of games that were ending in a tie, and they wanted a winner.
Since its inception there have been a total of 856 shootouts, which equates to approximately 13 percent of all games being decided by what is arguably a glorified skills competition. (All stats courtesy of NHLshootouts.com.)
For some NHL teams, the difference between making the playoffs and heading to the golf course early often hinges on their success in the shootout, which is a travesty.
Traditional hockey fans roll their eyes at the thought that their team could miss the playoffs based on their success in the shootout. For them, a tie was just fine, an indication that both teams played their hearts out, that both teams earned a point.
As exciting as the shootout can be for the winning side, I have always hated to see a game decided in this manner. Worse yet is when international competitions have used the shootout to decide championships, which is preposterous!
Overall, the idea of deciding a game via the shootout is a joke. Outside of soccer, what sport would resort to determining a game this way?
Football would never resort to deciding a game with a best-of-three field goals. You will never see a basketball game settled by a three-point shootout, and you’ll never see a golf tournament decided by a longest drive competition.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at ten alternatives to the shootout…the good, bad and the ugly of them…
Maybe teams could toss Carlton the bear around in Toronto?
If you have ever attended a minor league hockey game, you've witnessed the teddy bear toss.
For this event we could switch things up a bit, abandoning the idea of tossing the bear from the stands in favor of having the players throw the teddy bears from the goal line into the centre circle.
The team that emerges with the teddy bear closest to the faceoff dot wins: how exciting is that?
We all know this time-tested game.
In this event, each player would line up against an opposing player and engage in a game of rock paper scissors. As soon as one team's players are all eliminated, the hockey game is awarded to the victor…how cool is that?
Tug of war on ice? Why not??? That's a skill, right?
How cool would it be to see a tug of war on ice?
For this one we’ll line up ten of each team's toughest players at centre ice, throw them a rope and let them tug their way to victory.
First team to fall down loses the game…
We all remember back in the year 2000 when Robbie Ftorek (then coach of the New Jersey Devils) threw a bench onto the ice in protest of referee Stephen Walkom’s refusal to stop play while Devils forward Jay Pandolfo lay on the ice with significant facial cuts.
In this competition each teams head coach tosses the bench onto the ice. The coach that throws the bench the furthest wins the game for their team—two points if he nails a referee!
Mr. Innocent, he's not!!!
We all remember the two-handed slash delivered by Bobby Clarke to Russia’s Valeri Kharlamov’s ankle during the famous 1972 Summit Series, right? Why not celebrate it by honoring the incident as a means to decide a game?
Many feel Clarke’s antics were the difference between Canada winning and losing the series, I see no reason why a nice two-hander couldn’t decide a mere regular season NHL game.
For this competition each player slashes his opponent in the ankle until it breaks or the player gives up. The last player/s standing win the game for their team.
Anyone who witnessed the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup celebration remembers Kris Vertseeg’s rap. Given it’s popularity on youtube it appears as if fans want more, so why not give it to them?
For this competition each team would elect one player to battle it out in a battle rap. The player that receives the most cheers wins the game for their team.
The fastest skater competition would be "chop-chop" done!
We have all seen this one before—a player skates around the rink as fast as he can while being timed.
This competition would have a little twist to it, as, while we would still ask the player to skate around the rink as fast as they can, opposing players would be chasing him with a stick in the air that they could use to slow down the skater with a tomahawk chop to the head.
If you get chopped you lose. If not, the player with the fastest time wins the game for their respective team.
Who doesn't like babes in bikini's???
Each team struts out their players’ wives and girlfriends, who don thong bikini’s at centre ice. The crowd then votes on the hottest chick—her husband/boyfriends team wins the game.
"Yo Momma" is so fat...when she sits around the house, she sits around the house, know what I'm say'in???
Each player gets to take a verbal shot at an opponents Mom. The player with the best put down wins the game for his team. Admittedly the home crowd might be a little biased on this one, but it would be so funny we are willing to risk it!
Patrick could "go" with the best of them...that's a skill, right???
For this event each team would send out it’s three toughest players—most of whom have been sitting on the bench for 55 minutes or so.
Those six players engage in an “anything goes” battle royal. “The Foil” would be mandatory, the bloodshed would be massive, the injuries may be career ending, but the fans would see a real good butt-kicking, with the last man standing winning the game for their team.
It’s about time those tough-guys did some work, don’t you think?