Think about it. Two of the most memorable shootouts in hockey history are destined to be the Jonathan Toews/Jack Johnson showdown and the 2007 World Juniors and now the T.J. Oshie/Pavel Datsyuk & Ilya Kovalchuk shootout at the 2014 Olympics.
Why are they memorable? Because after 3 shooters, the coach can put out whoever he wants to take the shot. If a shootout goes 10 rounds, you can bet it has been 10 quality shooters and you don’t get down to the likes of an Erik Condra or other third liner who can barely get the puck down the ice.
For those who don’t like the shootout, nothing will change that opinion. But if it is a necessary evil in the regular season, wouldn’t you rather see Patrick Kane go head to head with Oshie, for example, 3 or 4 times in a row and not get down to the level of Bryan Bickell and Maxim Lapierre.
Sure, every once in a while you get a late round gem like Marek Malik‘s between the legs shot out of left field, but for the most part when teams get that deep it is less than a crap shoot.
If you are going to allow a skills competition to determine the winner, you should let a team’s most skilled player(s) decide the outcome. It would also allow NHL teams to employ a shootout specialist (hello, Rob Schremp!) instead of using that roster spot on a goon whose sole purpose is to drop the gloves.
I think everyone might like that. Everyone except NHL goalies, that is.