Did the neutral zone trap morph into the shootout? The pre-lockout reason for altering the rules, transfigured into the shootout as teams play for the shootout more this season. If trends are any indication, perhaps the two memes have a direct correlation.
Numbers since the lockout over 1230 games per season.
|% SO games||11.7886||13.333||12.682||12.683||17.505|
|# of SO Gms||145||164||156||156||215(proj)|
The NHL is heading to a record amount of shootouts in 2009-10, on pace to eclipse the 200 mark for the first time, shattering the previous high of 164 in 2006-07 by over 25%.
There is a definite trend here that includes a reduction in goals per game – and adjusted gls/gm due to shootout goals – since the lockout, trends that prompted the league to alter rules to encourage scoring, and finally eliminate tie games.
It might be the compressed schedule, maybe used more frequently in strategy .. Maybe it’s perceived parity in the NHL.
The NHL has been reactionary in the past to trends, implementing overtime, altering the conditions, and then the shootout.
Dreaded be the day the shootout meme replaces that of the neutral zone trap. What effect would it have if more teams played for shootouts? That may seem a stretch, but as indicated below, these numbers don’t lie.
Individual teams numbers regarding shootouts:
Bos (5-4), Florida (4-5) lead the NHL with nine shootouts, while Buffalo, Vancouver and NY Rangers are a perfect 2-0 this season. Pittsburgh is a perfect 4-0 and Nashville (3-1), New Jeersey (5-1), Philadelphia (2-1) and Phoenix (2-1) have lost only once.
Devils and Bruins lead the NHL with five SO wins .. Dallas (1-5) misses Jussi Jokinen, and Tampa Bay (1-5), NY Islanders (1-4) and Toronto (1-2) have only one win in the shootout.