Jason Spezza criticizes the shootout, doesn't think it's a good way to decide a close game

Published January 28, 2022 at 3:44 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI
Fresh off of a shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks, the Leafs were back at practice on Friday, working hard to prepare for Saturday night's matchup against an up-and-coming young Detroit Red Wings team.

Following practice, the media spoke with several Leafs, including veteran Jason Spezza, who happened to be one of the Leafs players who scored in the shootout to secure the victory. During Friday's scrum, Spezza was asked what he likes about being in the shootout and those 1-on-1 situations. His answer was a bit of a surprise, given how good he's been there.

"I can't say I'm a huge fan of the shootout in general," Spezza began. "It's gotten a little bit stale, but in terms of me, as an athlete, I love the pressure of just getting a chance to step up there, even if I've sat around for a little bit, I think it gives you confidence to know that you trust your instincts and trust your game where you can go out and execute a move."




Spezza has the luxury of having been around long before the shootout was ever a part of the game, so for a player who has experienced both worlds, with and without the shootout, I'd like to think that his opinion carries some weight.

I don't necessarily believe that abolishing the shootout would impact the standings too much, especially of 3-on-3 OT was extended by an additional 5 minutes, because there would still be very few ties. You don't need to look too far to find another major sports leagues where a tie is a possible outcome. The NFL is a great example. If OT does not decide a winner, the match is declared a draw, and we don't see a lot of draws in the NFL either.

I'm with Spezza in the sense that the shootout seems like a silly way to decide a game. It really feels like it was more of a novelty move - something to change the game and make things more interesting for fans. Now that the novelty has worn off a bit, I certainly wouldn't mind getting back to having OT decide a winner and if a winner cannot be decided there, then declare the game a draw and move on.

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