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If you were tuned in to NHL Network on Thursday night, you were in for a real treat. The gold medal game between the United States and Canada was an instant classic for anyone who watched.
The game gave the viewer a little bit of everything. There were some amazing saves by the goaltenders, and some beautiful goals scored. The game even had some chippiness between the young kids on the ice. It was everything a hockey fan could ask for.
The game went past regulation and overtime, and had to be decided in a 5-round shootout. The first 6 shooters of the shootout were stopped, but Troy Terry gave the US the lead in the 4th round of the shootout.
While the game was exciting and very fun to watch, the shootout ending was a buzzkill for me. Whether you were cheering for Canada or the United States, I am sure both sides did not want to see the shootout decide the outcome.
NEVER A FAN OF THE SHOOTOUT
I have never embraced the shootout in any level of hockey. I feel that it takes the team aspect out of the game. It turns the sport into an “individuals” game and I think it puts too much pressure on each goaltender.
I understand why the NHL must have a shootout during the regular season. With travel schedules and back to back game scenarios, it is necessary to make sure that games end in a certain amount of time. I would prefer games to end in ties, but that is another topic for another day.
The shootouts make sure games end in a certain allotment of time, but they are not as entertaining as something like a “golden goal.”
CHANGE THE RULES
Why does the IIHF allow a gold medal game in the World Junior Championships to be decided by a shootout? What kind of example does this set for the kids when they make it to the professional level?
Travel schedules are not as much of an issue with kids that are participating in the World Junior Championships. These kids can go out and play an entire game to decide who the best team is. To the players in the World Junior Championships, winning a gold medal is a major achievement in their young hockey careers. Most of these kids have grown up and watched their childhood heroes score those big goals in overtime to win championships.
A shootout should never ultimately decide a gold medal game or any kind of hockey playoff game. Diehard fans want to remember the big goals scored. They want to see hockey games decided by the golden goal. Fans appreciate the team aspect of the game, and having a shootout decide a gold medal game only diminishes the outcome.
By: George Foussekis