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Gary Bettman says the shootout is here to stay

Jan 30, 2012, 6:43 PM EDT

Image (1) garybettman3-thumb-250x169-15686.jpg for post 2542

Love it or hate it, one thing’s for certain — the shootout isn’t going anywhere.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made that abundantly clear in speaking with the Associated Press, citing league research and his own experiences.

“All the research that we do on a regular basis tells us overwhelmingly our fans like the shootout,” Bettman said during All-Star weekend in Ottawa. “We’re looking at numbers in the 70 and 80 percent approval range, which on any question is an extraordinarily high number.

“Anecdotally, I try to go to a game at least once in every building, and when you see an overtime game that goes to the shootout, the reaction in the building is sensational. Everybody’s on their feet.”

While the shootout isn’t an every-night occurrence, it does appear with some frequency. According to STATS LLC, 164 of the 735 games this season have been tied after three periods, meaning 22.3 percent of games have been of the three-point variety.

Of those 164 games, 95 have been decided by a shootout — a 58 percent clip, slightly higher than the post-lockout average of 56. Ergo, a significant amount of points are being decided by what some purists consider a gimmick.

“I have mixed feelings about it,” Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price told the AP. “The shootout is very random, because it’s not really involving the whole team. I think that’s probably the most difficult thing, so if you have a core group of guys that aren’t doing well in the shootout, then there’s a lot of blame on certain people.

“But it is better than having nobody win the game. I think at the end of the day you’re trying to sell tickets and being able to give a result to somebody is probably pretty good.”

The shootout has yielded some interesting results this season. Colorado is the gold standard — the Avs are a perfect 7-0, scoring 12 goals while allowing just four — while New Jersey has benefited the most, winning eight times (while losing just twice.) Detroit, 5-0 in the shootout, joins Colorado as the only undefeated team this season.

On the other end of the spectrum? Montreal is 1-7, St. Louis is 1-6 and Carolina holds the distinction of being the lone NHL team without a shootout win this season.

  1. scottfmullin - Jan 30, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    No way that 80% of fans support the shootout

  2. AppealToReason - Jan 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    I don’t have much an issue with the shootout. Ties sucked and when they were around and every pundit and pinhead said that the shootout would be way better. I just wish OT was 10 minutes of 4v4 before they went to the shootout.

    • trigzter - Jan 30, 2012 at 8:34 PM

      thats exactly how i feel. i find overtime to be exciting because of the faster paced 4v4. I don’t think 5 more minutes would hurt

  3. trbowman - Jan 30, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Having a game come down to a shootout sucks

    Know what sucks more?


  4. Stiller43 - Jan 30, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    I love the shootout…the only thing wrong is they give a point to each team for a regulation tie. If someone scores in OT, then that team should get two with the loser getting none…if its tied end of OT, shootout decides who gets 2 and who gets 1…

    Or you could make regular wins worth three, and OT winner still getting full three, But if it goes to shootout, winner gets 2, loser gets 1…that way you get rid of games being 3 and others being worth two.

    Either way, something needs to decide who wins because ties are just awful, and you cant just play OT forever.

  5. imleftcoast - Jan 30, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Agree with the comments above. How about 5 min of 4×4 followed by 5 min of 3×3?

  6. ang6666 - Jan 30, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    If a game ends in a tie, that is what should be reflected. Otherwise let’s just flip a coin to see who wins after a tie.

  7. hibackhand - Jan 30, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    at the end of 3 shooters, then it’s Paper, Scissors, Rock time.

  8. ikillchicken - Jan 30, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    The idea that 80% of fans actually like the shootout is nothing short of absurd. That said, I’m a realist. Nobody wants to see games end in draws and it’s just not feasible to keep playing overtime indefinitely. The NHL has a tough enough time getting on TV in the states as it is. So fine. We’re stuck with the shootout which is basically a coin toss. Let’s at least adjust the points system to reflect that though.

  9. bcjim - Jan 30, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    I agree with the more 4×4 time. Most games will end within 10 min.

  10. stefano9319 - Jan 30, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Keep the shoot out but the losing team shouldn’t get points. A loss is a loss and nothing more. There not kids were you can give them a point for effort

  11. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 30, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    If a game ends in a tie, that’s fine. But the heck do we award a point for losing? That might be the most dumbest thing ever! Hey your team lost, but here have a point for losing in a shoot out.

    NHL needs a 5 on 5 for 5 minutes. Nobody scores then 4 on 4. If still scoreless then it’s a tie. Oh and don’t award any points to the losers.

  12. pastabelly - Jan 30, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    I would rather go to 10 minute overtime. It’s real hockey.

  13. atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 30, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    I hate the 3 point games, it totally screwed up the integrity of the standings. The only way to fix it is to either get rid of the point for the losing team, regardless of when they lose, or to make regulation wins worth 3 points and OT/SO wins worth 2 with the third point going to the loser.

  14. pittsburghpoonslayer - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:21 AM

    yea you guys would hate the shoot out if you didn’t have geno malking scoring on every shot and winning every game

  15. garodell - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    I think a ten minute 4 on 4 would be better than the present form. The thing I don’t like from the shootout is that you go from a team sport to an individual sport. I prefer the hockey I seen in the sixties.

  16. buffalomafia - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    A team should only get two points if they win the shootout! Its either you win & get points & lose & go home! Not this shit u get a point cause your playing in OT!

  17. boltsfan777 - Jan 31, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    So “Everybody’s on their feet” equates to overwhelming support? I stand to watch a shootout too, mainly so I can see past the guy in front of me who stood up first.

    Hockey is a team game, and an overtime game shouldn’t be settled by a 1 on 1 game any more than a baseball game settled by a home run derby or a basketball game settled by a game of “1 on 1” or “Pig”. Leave that skills competition stuff for All Star week.

  18. nyr1 - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    The shootout sucks. There are plenty of passionate hockey fans, but the NHL continues to try to entice the “casual fan.” Go to 10 minutes of 4 on 4 or 4 on 4 followed by 3 on 3….the nhl has to stop worrying about people who dont really care about hockey. There are plenty of real fans out there, and all of these gimmicks are making us resent all of the fans that will only tune in a few times a season.

  19. akritchie - Jan 31, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    I hate the shootout. I hated it before it was implemented in the NHL (we had it here in the IHL/AHL before that & I hated it then, too). My solution is to turn off the tv or leave the arena early and pretend it doesn’t exist.

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