The Chicago Blackhawks have a pair of shootout losses this season to Boston and Colorado. It will be interesting to see who coach Joel Quenneville sends out to center ice in the event if the 'Hawks wind up even with the visiting Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks have yet to have beaten an opposing goalie in either shootout so far. Quenneville, in predictable fashion, was criticized for his choices both nights.
In the loss to the Bruins, fans complained when Patrick Sharp came out and missed the third shot following unsuccessful attempts by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Saturday Quenneville got some grief when he gave Viktor Stalberg the first try at Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Chicago is 32-37 all time in shootouts since they were instituted for the 2005-06 season. The 'Hawks scoring rate of 33.3 percent is slightly better than the league average of 32.6 percent.
Toews and Kane, despite coming up empty on their two attempts this season, seem to be the default go-to guys in the event of a shootout. Toews finds the back of the net on 48.7 percent of his shootout attempts. Kane, who leads all active 'Hawks with 45 attempts, has a 37.8 percent rate of success.
Both have had plenty of success over their careers. The debate seems to be with whom the third shooter will be.
Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have been Quenneville's most frequent choices. Sharp holds a 21.9 percent success rate, while Hossa connects at a 35 percent rate for his career. Stalberg's failure to convert leaves him with two goals in three attempts.
Sharp and Hossa are usually maligned for not being creative in their attempts. Sharp in particular is more a sniper than a player who stick-handles his way to the net. Hossa hits at nearly the same rate as Kane.
If not either of these guys, who should Quenneville send out?
I had no problem with the coach using Stalberg and wouldn't have one if he uses him again. If Sharp's skill in this area leaves you flat, why not give a younger player a shot?
Other names to be considered don't carry a lot of experience to the shootout. Former Florida Panthers Rostislav Olesz and Michael Frolik lead the current roster in that category, but Olesz is 3 for 18, while Frolik is 2 for 13 in their careers.
Dave Bolland? Zero for four lifetime. Bryan Bickell? No shootout attempts. Brent Seabrook scored in his only attempt to beat Columbus in an 11-round shootout victory back in December of 2009. Still, you'd hate to risk that perfect record.
For those of you not wanting Sharp or Hossa taking that third shot, it may come down to someone with little experience facing off against the opposing goalie with that extra point on the line.
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