As many fans have pointed out, unfairly, Robin Lehner might be the worst shootout goalie in hockey.
With the Chicago Blackhawks losing many games this season via shootout, many fans have also called for a rule change. I can’t say I blame them, but it’s not the right thing to do.
For years, the Chicago Blackhawks have benefited from shootouts. They’ve won many games over the years by way of shootout. Now, yes, it is a very tough thing for some goalies to handle, but that doesn’t mean the NHL should get rid of it.
Before I say anything, let me get something straight. I am happy with both Blackhawks’ goalies. I love both of them.
Robin Lehner has come out and said that he hates shootouts. He even tweeted a two-tweet thread specifically about shootouts. He pointed out how he reacts to them and also said that “shootouts aren’t hockey.”
Whether Chicago Blackhawks’ fans like shootouts or not, the rule shouldn’t change. This is the first time in a while we, as a fanbase, have been negatively affected by shootouts.
Let me ask this question. Just because Lehner isn’t good at shootouts means the NHL needs to change the rule? Corey Crawford has played really well in shootouts throughout his career. His most recent win came in a shootout against the New Jersey Devils.
On the other hand, I see where goalies are coming from. Shootouts aren’t the same as a breakaway. Players get a chance to slow down, and do their “moves”, without any defenders on the ice.
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However, the NHL has made some changes to the shootouts. Players aren’t allowed to skate backwards anymore. They have a certain time-limit too. Some of the changes actually benefit the goalies.
Losing in the shootout is a tough thing to handle. On average, only 13% of regular-season games end in a shootout. They aren’t enforced in the playoffs, which is good.
I think it’s time for Chicago Blackhawks’ fans to not call sour-grapes since Lehner has troubles in the shootout. The rules are fine how they are.
A few years back, the NHL made overtime 3-on-3 to lessen the chances of shootouts. The only change the NHL can make that wouldn’t be an issue would be extending overtime to 10 minutes. Many fans are in favor of that. Whether they bring the issue up in the summer or not, fans can’t sit around and complain.
As of right now, shootouts are still a part of hockey. It prevents games from going on for too long. A 10-minute period of 3-on-3 hockey and then a shootout could be a better option. Nothing will change during the 2019-20 season, so instead of complaining as fans, we have to accept the rules.
Lehner said the team was working on shootouts. Hopefully, he can get better at them. It’s just a weak move for fans to attack him on Twitter. Robin is an NHL goalie for a reason. Let him do his thing.