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Are the Devils doomed by the shootout?

Mar 29, 2014, 10:26 PM EDT

Martin Brodeur, Mikkel Boedker AP

It’s plausible that most – if not all – of the 14 teams that miss the 2014 playoffs will end up with “What if?” questions. Some will be deeper than others (“What if we had competent management/better players?”), yet the New Jersey Devils may find a more obvious flaw if they fall short in 2013-14. Simply put, they’ve been glaringly impotent in shootouts.

With Saturday’s 2-1 shootout defeat to the New York Islanders, the Devils are now a stunning 0-10 in the “skills competition.” Stretching back to 2012-13, they’ve now lost a jarring 13 shootouts in a row.

To put things in perspective, if they merely went .500 (5-5) in shootouts, they’d have 82 points on the season and 36 wins. That would leave them as the second wild card team ahead of the Detroit Red Wings … and that assumes those wins wouldn’t take anything away from other bubble teams.

(These things can get tricky when you start to ponder alternate sports universes, so let’s just move on.)

The Devils aren’t totally out of the playoff mix as of this moment; Sports Club Stats gives them a 17.2 percent chance to make it. Still, of all the bad breaks New Jersey has received (Cory Schneider getting poor goal support, Michael Ryder going ice cold, etc.), the team’s stunning shootout struggles might be their true Achilles heel.

(On this note, the only NHL team with comparable struggles is the Nashville Predators, who are 1-8 in that area right now.)

  1. orangegesus - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Teams should not make – or miss – the playoffs based on this obsurd sideshow event.

    Get rid of the shootout. It’s a joke.

    • c9castine - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      that is a great point of view and one i am 100% on board with except thats not the reality of the situation

      reality is it matters, so you best practice it, and get good at it.

  2. 950003cups - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    No James. The Devils are doomed by their creator. Lou Lamoriello has done nothing to keep his best players happy. Parise, Clarkson, Kovalchuk, Neidermayer, Rafalski, Martin, and Gomez all found creative excuses to take a risk and go to FA. He’s done nothing in 10 years. He didn’t get Kovalchuk, that was Vanderbeek. But Lou was bad enough to make him want to run away to the KHL. Which was his only way out of playing for Lamoriello.

    He’s an awful GM who’s living strictly off past reputation. Similar to the players he signs.

    • trbowman - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:50 PM


      Parise was never going to re-sign, he wanted to be in Minnesota and everyone knows that. Yeah, dumb for LL to not match that ridiculous contract Clarkson got from Toronto. Really dumb there – he’s worked out so well for the Leafs too! Kovalchuk bolting isn’t his fault. And no NJ fan complained about his contract while he was there shredding it.

      • 950003cups - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        Parise would’ve never went to FA had Lou locked him up earlier as all other GMs do. Kovalchuck left to play in the KHL. Seems all of Lamoriello’s players “go home”. He never keeps anyone. Every Devils fan knows it. Lou has to go ASAP. He’s awful.

        PS. Where did I say Kovalchuk’s contract was bad?

        Here’s how to properly partake in an online discussion.

        Step 1 = read the post you are attempting to reply to.

        Step 2 = read step one

    • 19inarow - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:18 AM


  3. blomfeld - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:52 PM


    the only thing going for the ‘Devils’ right now is the NHL’s current # 5 ‘best’ goalie … apart from that, hell hath no fury like looking into a mirror ! … God speed comrade Schneider and may it be that you can soon ’emancipate’ yourself from this ‘twisted and troubled’ organization …

    1) Jonathan Quick
    2) Martin Jones
    3) Jonathan Bernier
    4) Ben Scrivens
    5) Cory Schneider :)

    28) Heinrich Thomas
    29) Alexander Ovechkin
    30) Roberto ‘Madoff’ Luongo

    • blomfeld - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Sorry friends, as I posted the wrong video due to a ‘disturbance’ … here’s what was originally intended …

    • dewman8810 - Mar 31, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      Naming their team after Satan must not be that bad since they have 3 Stanley Cups.

  4. vindicatus - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Not only have they not won a shoot out, they have only scored on one attempt all season.

    There’s bad, and then there’s BAD.

  5. bleedrangerblue - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Devils are not good. It’s that simple. Lost all their talent and sign old men. 950003 has a point

    • 19inarow - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:21 AM

      These “old men” aren’t the problem.

  6. chanceoffleury - Mar 30, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    At the end of the day you learn one thing from this: God must be a fan of the shootout. Name your team after harmless things like ducks, penguins, blues music, uppercase letters and Canadiens? The Lord will bring you many a shootout victory. If you name your team after “evil” things like the antichrist, a natural disaster, or a predatory beast? You’ll just have to beat them in regulation if you want the extra point. Not sure what the special hatred for swords and oil is all about though…..

    Only joking, but hey I’ll keep beating this dead horse. I think the obvious reason they keep it is because casual fans like it, and it means somebody is always gonna come out a winner in a timely manner. I don’t like it, but I also don’t think I’m qualified to say it’d be better for the players to play an extra 40, 50, 60 minutes of hockey for even one game a season. I’ve never been a fan of ties in a professional sports league, but I’d be interested to hear whether the players would even want to play sudden death overtime. I think hockey being a contact sport forces the NHL to put some sort of time limit on regular season games. A 45 minute overtime isn’t just 45 more minutes of shooting, it’s 45 minutes of hitting, hip checking, and shot blocking, too. It’s the best idea in theory, but once they play a 45 minute overtime the game that kicks off one of those “sprints” during the season where they play 9 games in 14 days or whatever; I’m not sure I’ll like it as much if they go 3-6 on a stretch because they’re tired from going into a lengthy overtime with some western conference team that ends up not even mattering in the longrun.

    • stakex - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:21 AM

      Its not just the players that would have an issue with that. In fact, probably the biggest issue with doing unlimited OT is the time constraints. The networks wouldn’t like it at all if any given game during the seasons could drag out for hours past the expected end time. Because lets not forget that if you are talking about playing until someone scores, you would have to do intermissions just like OT in the playoffs. As such 45 minutes of sudden death overtime would take well over two hours. That’s just not going to fly with anyone…. not the players, not the fans, and certainly not the networks.

      In the end, there is no other realistic solution to eliminating ties completely aside from the shootout. The NHL can play with the rules of OT a bit, but unlimited OT isn’t going to happen so ties will always be possible without the shootout. As such, people need to ask themselves this question: What do you hate more…. ties or the shootout? Because you can’t eliminate both.

      Personally, even though its gimmicky, I would rather see a game end in a shootout than a tie. There is no more boring and unsettled way for a game to end than in a tie.

  7. penguins87and71 - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:13 AM

    The point is the shootout is not going away, so here’s a suggestion for the Devils, practice it more in practice.

  8. lovac2 - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Don’t blame the shootout. Devils are 29th out of 30 in goals scored so it’s not all about the luck. To win a shootout you need to have players who can do things 1 on 1 and have moves to score. Next to last in goals scored tells you pretty much why they are 0-10 in shootouts.

  9. slysipops - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    • slysipops - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      you mean even sir JAGR couldn’t carry them to the promised land ?

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