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Capitals coach on shootouts: ‘I don’t like it very much’

Dec 26, 2013, 11:00 PM EDT

Washington Capitals Practice Getty Images

His team has the National Hockey League’s best record in the shootout. Yet, Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates doesn’t care for the deciding breakaway competitions.

“I don’t believe in them,” Oates said, as per theScore.

“I know the fans like it, but that’s because it has kind of a carnival effect. I mean, I get it. It’s in the rules, but maybe because I never played with it, I don’t really like it very much.”

The Capitals currently have an 8-3 record in the shootout this season. They’ve been particularly good in this element on home ice. Six of their wins in the skills competition have come at home; in fact they haven’t lost this way at Verizon Center this season and they’ve scored 14 goals on 20 attempts.

Oates isn’t the first person to voice their opinion against the shootout.

You might recall Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and his take on this in early November, when there were discussions out of the general managers meetings about possibly one day extending the overtime.

“I wouldn’t mind [getting rid of the shootout.] It doesn’t have anything to do with the game you just played. It’s just so dramatic when you lose,” Rask said last month.

“As a goalie it’s tough to accept that it’s not all your fault if you lose. I don’t know. As a viewer I’m a fan of the shootout, but when you’re in it, it’s not that cool, especially when you’re on the losing end.

“A five- or 10-minute overtime? I’d be OK with that. But going to 3-on-3 [in overtime]…that sounds a little crazy to me.”

  1. sjsharks66 - Dec 26, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    What does Oates like?

  2. steelers88 - Dec 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    I personally love shootouts.

  3. c9castine - Dec 26, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    steelers88, you would love shootout. no surprise there.

    shootouts are garbage but at least we don’t have ties like the NFL.

    4 on 4 for 10 minutes. then i dunno. id rather see 1 minute segments of 3 on 2 or something than a shootout.

    i don’t know what the answer is, but the shootout has worn out its welcome.

  4. steelers88 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Why doesn’t the NHL just have a 5 on 5 10 minute overtime. If one team doesn’t score than it would be 4 on 4. If a team doesn’t score it would go to 3 on 3. I agree the NFL’s tie rule is terrible.

    • joey4id - Dec 27, 2013 at 6:33 AM

      The schedule is too demanding. They sometimes have to travel immediately after a game to play the next day. They often get in at 2 or 3 in the morning without having played extra minutes to break a tie.

      • brymck1 - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:35 AM

        Play 4 on 4 for 5 minutes then 3 on 3 until the tie is broken…or just play 3 on 3 the entire time. I think the Devils/Kings played 3 on 3 overtime for 2 minutes due to offsetting minors and it was basically 1 or 2 on 1 one way down the ice, great stop by goaltender, then 1 or 2 on 1 the other way down the ice, great stop by goaltender, repeat until penalty was up and then Jagr scored just after he got out of the box…my impression through the whole thing was that the goalies couldn’t keep that up for more than 5-7 minutes tops.

    • freestyle1022 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      4 on 4 for 5 minutes, 3 on 3 for 5, then shootout if you have to (or 3 on 3 for unlimited time, it would barely make it more than 5 minutes one would have to think).

    • flyerspsu - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      it would pretty dumb to start off overtime still at 5v5 or to have 30 additional possible OT minutes, the whole point of OT and why it is 4v4 is to open up play and make it easier to score

      it should 4v4 for 5 minutes or 10 minutes, if its 5 minutes id be fine with 1 more 5 minute session at 3v3, it might be crazy but id be down for some experimenting, like during preseason next year

  5. trademikegreenforjoeflacco - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    I suppose

  6. 19to77 - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    For once, I actually agree with Oates’ constant criticism of basically everything. Shootouts aren’t great. Fun to watch, like Rask said, but bad for the game. Almost no player, coach or GM actually defends them. All the more potent a criticism when it comes from the coach of the current best shootout team in the League. Win or lose, the players and staff still don’t like it. Time for the shootout to go. So many fans and players alike call for longer overtime – why not just do it?

  7. joey4id - Dec 27, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    Shootouts are a gimmick, but they serve a purpose. They break a tie. It seems the players and fans like it because everyone is standing. The NHL’s options to break are tie are extremely limited because of time constraints. Too many times teams play 2 games in 24 hours. Limitless overtime or adding a lot of extra time would mean no more 2X24. This means either starting the season earlier, finishing later, or both by adding extra days at both ends. Another option would be to play less games. All,of these options will have a negative financial impact for the NHL and owners.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      “starting the season earlier, finishing later, or both by adding extra days at both ends”

      that part actually made me want limitless shootouts more.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 27, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        excuse me, limitless OT*, not shootouts.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        scratch that. not more hockey, but LESS OFFSEASON!!

    • parasolmonster - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      “Shootouts are a gimmick, but they serve a purpose. They break a tie.”

      I just don’t believe in a gimmick being worth a full standings point. Too important.

      • JoeAvg - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        Absolutely! Want to get rid of shootouts and teams just playing for the tie in the final five minutes? Easy. Just stop rewarding the loser a point – if you lose, you lose and you get nothing. Winners get two points for a regulation or overtime win. Shootout winners get one only point. If you can’t put your opponent down within the game’s normal course of play you don’t deserve two points.

        I’d guess that this simple change would cut the amount of shootouts by at least half.

  8. csilojohnson - Dec 27, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    The OT period is way to short. 5 mins. . thats rediculous. 10-15 min period. Then the shootout wont be so common.

  9. comeonnowguys - Dec 27, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    I hate that a shootout win counts as much as a regular win. Bring in a 3-2-1, then a 4v4, 3v3. If we’re going to deviate from 5 on 5 hockey, let’s at least try to make it look somewhat like hockey.

  10. pastabelly - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Shootouts are a gimmick and a novelty and now most people are sick of them and it influences the way teams play at the end of regulation (playing for at least one point with a chance for two rather than having that urgency for two points in regulation). I blame this on soccer. 3 on 3 is also kind of gimmicky. Just add three minutes to the 5 minute overtime and you actually get out of the arena even quicker since no zamboni break. If nobody scores in 8 minutes of 4 on 4, guess what, the best you get is one point for a tie. It won’t impact attendance one bit and nobody would care. You would have seen 60 minutes of a close hockey game and 8 exciting 4 on 4 minutes. That should be enough.

  11. vbcaps - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Everytime I watch a game that goes to a shoot out, the home team fans are really into it

    I would say most who don’t like the shoot out are the die hard hockey fans who the league isn’t worried about loosing

    The league wants to attract more casual fan and I would be willing to bet that the casual fan enjoys the shootout

    • ibieiniid - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      i’m getting the feeling that it’s ALMOST unanimous that people like to watch shootouts, die hard and casual fans alike. the difference is that the die hards don’t like game outcomes to RELY on them. we’ve all seen points stolen from our teams via the shootout. fun to watch, not fun to lose.

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