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Wayne Simmonds

Gimmick or not, the NHL shootout remains a big part of the game

Gimmick or not, the NHL shootout remains a big part of the game

It's the essence of hockey distilled into one breathless moment: a goaltender, a shooter, and nothing between them but tension and the hopes of thousands of fans, many of them brought to their feet by the dramatic circumstances. Often mocked as a skills contest but promoted by the NHL as fan-friendly entertainment, the shootout was adopted before the 2005-06 season for regular-season games as a way to eliminate ties. In the 2003-04 season — the last in which ties were permitted — 14% of regular-season games ended in ties. Awarding an extra point to the winner on top of the point each team is guaranteed for reaching overtime was designed to encourage coaches to go for wins....

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