NHL to change shootout rules for next season . . .
In the NHLs continued effort to try and improve its game and gain the interest of the more casual hockey fan, the league will be implementing a new rule change to shootouts starting next season.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, starting next season, coaches will no longer have to submit their shooter cards prior to the start of the shootout itself. Instead, they’ll now be allowed to pick their shooter round-by-round. The argument for this change, and what led to it being implemented, is that by the coach submitting the card prior to the shootout starting takes the coaching aspect out of the game at, perhaps, its most critical moment.
A great example where this would’ve made perhaps a HUGE difference took place during the last game of the season when the Flyers and Rangers went to a shootout to determine who goes to the playoffs. Surely there’s no telling the exact thought process going on under Tortorella’s mini mullet, but if he knew that his team was down a goal going in to the final round, do you think he would’ve still gone with Olli Jokinen or instead chosen to go with sniper Marion Gaborik? Regardless of the answer, it would’ve been something that he would’ve had the option to consider and could’ve led to a completely different outcome.
Regardless of your opinion on shootouts and whether or not they should be used to determine the outcome of the game, the fact of the matter is that they’re here to stay for now. The good thing, though, is that with the expected passing of this new rule, there will now be an added strategic dimension to determining the outcome of the game; that is, a coach can now do his job during all aspects of the game . . . even during the shootout.
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