Shoot the Shootout!

Enough with the NHL shoot out already. I know this will upset some people and yes I do know that the shootout does pump excitement into some relatively boring regular season games. But it is this time of year the silliness of the tool to decide games and playoff position is exposed.
Think about it. I understand that it was put in to bring a conclusion to a game quickly with some enjoyment but come on…..What other sport decides the outcome of games and potential playoff berths by a singular skill? How about this? Let’s pick our five toughest guys and have them fight each other to the end. Last man standing gets the win? Still very entertaining…TV networks would love it!
Could you imagine the NFL deciding games by a field goal kicking contest? At least all the players have a say in the contest the way they do it now…..How about the NBA, “Hey guys pick your five best three point shooters and let’s get this game over with….all big men sit on the bench, you’re done for the night.” Major league baseball, nine innings all tied…… send out the pitching coaches….. “We are going to have a home run contest!”  It is Masters Week, Sunday rolls around, we have Tiger and Phil tied for the lead after eighteen….. “Guys, over to the practice range we are going to end this thing with a chipping contest…..”
I watch a lot of the Philadelphia Flyer games and love to watch the dominant play of Chris Pronger. He is a force in any game he plays. Definitely is a difference maker in any hockey game.  He probably plays over half of all games and about three and a half minutes of the overtime. Shout out comes and he is not a factor or rarely used. (Although he did have a penalty shot in the Stanley Cup playoffs once though…. But I think you get my point.)
People say it is a part of the game. There are penalty shots all the time. Not even close. There are very few games that are ever affected by a penalty shot.  Plus, have you seen some of the shots lately in the shootout? I was sure last week a player for the Rangers was going to put himself offside he was going so slow……It was like a carnival game. No break away or penalty shot ever looked like that.
I also think the whole two point, one point thing is just wrong. Your twenty guys can battle all night and all contribute and you get one point for the tie. Then three shooters go out and with a few slick moves get the equivalent….one point. It is just crazy……
Enough complaining. How about a solution?  I will say the five minute overtime when it is four on four is great entertainment and that situation actually happens in a regular game. Almost everyone still contributes. (Pronger, still on the ice….) How about this? After the five minutes of four on four, drop it to three on three. Keep playing until someone scores. If any penalty is taken then award a penalty shot…..still exciting and I guarantee, a goal will be scored very quickly. Faster than the guy in the shootout that they timed with a sun dial……J
Can’t have a blog this week without a Masters reference!
Every athlete should be forced to watch Phil Mickelson conduct himself at a press conference. The other day I stumbled upon the Mickelson press conference at the Masters and I found myself drawn in to watch the whole thing. Phil was funny, thoughtful and even entertaining in how he handled the press.  I know most of those golf interviews are a bit of a drag and some of the questions asked are just terrible but this one is worth checking out. Too bad most athletes can’t enjoy it like this. The second half of the interview is really good!
Enjoy! J
Click on the link below and then on the picture of Phil.

http://www.masters.com/en_US/news/interviews/index.html

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