Penguins' Shootout: What Were They Thinking?

Matt HunterCorrespondent INovember 19, 2008

Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins went up against a tough Minnesota Wild hockey team.  Both teams played a hard-fought game, which ended in a shootout.

Now, this is where I have no idea what the Penguins coaches were thinking, or the players who were taking the shots.

Coach Terrien chose Petr Sykora, Alex Goligoski, and Sidney Crosby.  I would not have chosen any of those three if the decision had been up to me.  If I had to choose I would have gone with Miroslav Satan, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal.

I know that Goligoski got the game winner the other night, but hey, people do get lucky. No offense to him, but that goal was a lucky one that just somehow slipped under the goaltender's leg.

I can see why Sykora was on the shootout lineup last night; he is a good goal scorer. However, he is very predictable in his moves.  He comes in goes back and forth a little bit, and the majority of the time he ends up on his back-hand.

You have to be able to keep goaltenders guessing each time you come up for a shot, or they are going to be able to guess right every time, and there is no way that you are going to get goals that way.

And really, Sidney Crosby?  Yes, he is a great hockey player and is fun to watch, but there is a time when you have to throw that aside and pick a player that you know is going to have a better chance of scoring.  The last time that I can remember Crosby getting a shootout goal was in the Winter Classic game against Buffalo.

Another problem with the skaters last night that participated in the shootout was that they were so dull.  All three came right down the middle with no speed put on one move and then shot the puck.  I mean, it is pretty obvious that NHL goaltenders are going to stop everything if you shoot it right at them.

It is just frustrating to watch an opposing team's players pull moves on Dany Sabourin, and then have the Penguins players just go down nonchalantly as if they couldn't care if they scored or not.

My point is with regard to Crosby and his awful attempt against Niklas Backstrom.  He came right down the middle of the ice with no speed and dropped his shoulder before the face-off hash marks.  I am guessing that Backstrom was probably smiling and laughing at the same time, because he knew Crosby had no chance of scoring. 

All Crosby did after that move was take a snap-shot right into the pads of Backstrom and the game was over, along with the six-game winning streak.

I hope in the future, Terrien thinks a little bit harder about who will be the first three to go for the shootout, and also work with his team on how to actually execute a penalty shot.