Shootout Controversy

A few nights ago the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers were in a duel. A shoot out that last seven shooters is rare anymore. So for one to appear with that much star power should have been a treat. Not to mention it was on National Television in prime time. This should have been everything the NHL wanted. However its conclusion was less epic. In fact is was a brilliant example of the odd bureaucracy in the NHL.

Alex Ovechkin had a chance to the end the game and then this happened.

So call a spade a spade. They eventually got the call right. The rules state that you can not throw your stick at an opponent during the shootout. If you do its an automatic goal.

So after this happens Thoughts From The Bench’s Head Bitch In Charge called me and demanded an explanation. His argument is that in no other sport would there simply be a point awarded. Soccer they would re-kick same in basketball, football you name it. They would simply do the play over.

In the NHL they award a point to a player that never actually finished the play. Who’s to say Ovechkin scores on a re-do. Why not just do the play over?

Why? I’ll tell you why. Because “the NHL as a league rivals only that of Major League Baseball when it comes to being in love with its own history.” – Ryan Lambert.

This quote from Lambert perfectly explains the insanity of the NHL’s bureaucracy. The good old boys network of executives who believe it is their sole mission to maintain the integrity of the game. However the way they maintain it is by continuing to push out of date ideals. Forcing the product to change for the worse.

The rule to awards an automatic goal is ancient. It comes from an adaption of a penalty shot. However in a penalty shot scenario the official is ruling that a player was already robbed of a goal scoring opportunity. In addition to that a penalty shot is hardly ever used to end a game. It was this short shortsightedness that caused the anticlimactic end to an otherwise brilliant example of hockey. The game was 2 to 2 on national TV in prime time. Any causal fan that was watching was left with a lack of satisfaction.

We as sports fans want to see the big play to end the game. We want the team jumping over the boards to mug the hero. We want that moment. And Tuesday night the NHL robbed us of that. The took away a pinnacle moment from one of the face of the league in a playoff push.

Now explain to me how that sells the game.

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