It’s tough to feel good about a shootout loss, especially when points are so important to a team now ten back of a playoff spot. However, the Buffalo Sabres played yet another inspired game, despite losing 1-0 to the Eastern Conference beast New York Rangers.
Rochester, New York native (although you probably knew that already due to the increasingly annoying know-it-all at the NBC Sports Network, Pierre McGuire who, along with his pal Mike Emrick, has made it his mission in life to tell you every single player’s backstory, instead of following the play on the ice) Ryan Callahan netted the shootout winner for the Blueshirts, ruining an otherwise stellar performance from Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who made 29 saves. Had Callahan’s goal counted in the stat lines, it would have been the New York winger’s 18th of the season.
Why mention this?
It’s bothered me for a good while now that shootout winning goals do not officially count in the official stats for an individual player. He scored the goal, didn’t he? It gave his team the victory, correct? Then he should get credit.
I’m not saying that every goal scored in the shootout should be credited to the individual, because then we’re just getting crazy. I do feel, however, that if there is an outcome to a game – and there is always an outcome to every single game in the NHL – then the deciding goal should be credited to the individual doing the deciding. The Sabres lost 1-0 last night, yet no one scored a goal.
Ryan Miller was given a shutout for his efforts in last night’s loss, and therein lies some of the issue. The team Miller was tending goal for lost the game, and to credit him with a shutout, despite losing the game, is bass ackwards and, according to the laws of Ice Hockey Physics, an impossibility. (Okay, I may have made that last part up, but you get the gist).
I have never been a huge fan of the shootout in general, even though, admittedly, next to a triple in baseball, a penalty shot situation is the most exciting play in sports (But only during regular game play). Don’t ever “color me heartbroken” if the NHL one day decides to do away with the shootout, in favor of a true (possibly 10-minute?) overtime session. Alas, I also understand why shootouts exist, and for the casual fan (of which I am not) it’s more or less an edge-of-your-seat, can’t-breathe-until-it’s-over, holy-crap-is-it-over-yet level of excitement. And the NHL wouldn’t have it any other way.
Except in the playoffs, of course.
And the issue of having it one way during the regular season, only to abandon it totally during post-season is another matter altogether, but one that annoys me just as much. Not that I want to see the shootout cheapen the panic-inducing intensity of playoff hockey.
I guess if the shootout has to exist, and as long as games are decided in such fashion, at least credit the winning goal to the hero who sends the other team home unhappy. It only makes sense.
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