There’s still an afterglow on this side of the border following the United States’ dramatic 5-4 comeback win over Canada in one of the greatest International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship gold medal games ever played.
But there’s still also a bitter taste – even among some Team USA fans – that such a thrilling, entertaining, dramatic, and excellently-played championship game was decided by a five-round shootout after an overtime session.
From 1980 U.S. hockey Miracle on Ice Gold Medal Olympian Mike Eruzione to newly-forged hockey fan Tony X deciding a championship game with a duel between a shooter and a goaltender was about as satisfying as the final episodes of “The Sopranos,” HBO’s “The Night Of,” or the Bobby Ewing dream sequence on “Dallas” in the 1980s.
Of course, some folks say that complaints about Thursday night’s shootout are merely sour grapes from fans who didn’t like the outcome of the game.
I have mixed feelings about shootouts. I don’t think any championship in any sport should be decided by any sort of shootout.
Can you imagine the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Caveliers deciding an NBA championship series on free throw or three-point shootouts? Or a deadlocked Super Bowl being settled by a field goal kickers duel from 50-yards out? Or a tied World Series baseball game being won or loss in a home run derby after the traditional nine innings?
Still, I understand the excitement that hockey shootouts can produce. I was at the U.S.-Russia game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi when Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie scored four shootout goals in an unbelievable, pressure-filled exhibition of skill.
The National Hockey League started using the shootout for regular season games in the 2005-06. But the league doesn’t use it for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The IIHF has used the shootout to decide deadlocked world championship and Olympic games since 1992.
What do you think? Should the shootout stay or go in championship games?