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Dallas Stars Present The Ins And Outs Of Shootouts


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http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dw...de.3ebd6c7.html

Dallas Stars present the ins and outs of shootouts

10:36 AM CST on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

By MIKE HEIKA / The Dallas Morning News

mheika@dallasnews.com

Traditionally opposed to a gimmick that would decide a game, several NHL coaches, such as Carolina's Paul Maurice and Columbus' Ken Hitchcock, didn't embrace the shootout when the league adopted it in 2005.

Stars coach Dave Tippett was different.

"I like it, and more importantly, the fans like it," Tippett said. "So, really, right from the start, it was something we wanted to work on."

Tippett's enthusiasm for the gimmick has paid off for the Stars, who have the best shootout record in NHL history at 30-12.

"It's entertaining, and it can win you points in the standings, so it's something that's a big part of our game now," Tippett said. "We look at every aspect of it."

In fact, the Stars practice the shootout every day and hold competitions usually a couple of times a week.

The percentage of shootout games started at 11.6 percent in 2005-06 to 13.3 percent in 2006-07 and is 11.8 this season.

Other coaches are catching on. Hitchcock recently said he is a convert to making the shootout an important part of his team's preparation.

"It's a big deal now, so you study it like anything else you would to prepare for a game," he said. "These points can mean the difference in the season."

Shootout rules

When it's used: When a regular-season game is tied after a five-minute overtime.

Starting off: Each coach selects three players, and the home coach chooses whether to shoot first or second. The teams alternate shots.

Sudden death: If the score is tied after all six players try, the shootout continues with one player per team alternating until a round ends with a team ahead.

Did you know? The longest NHL shootout was on Nov. 26, 2005, when the New York Rangers' Marek Malik – the 30th shooter – scored to beat Washington.

The shooter

Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk picks up tips from his daughter. Stars center Mike Ribeiro grabbed one from teammate B.J. Crombeen. When it comes to shootouts, you learn to be creative. Datsyuk and Ribeiro explore new territory with their dipsy-do moves.

"I think sometimes they come to me in a dream," Datsyuk joked. He has watched his daughter play street hockey and pondered whether a move would work in the NHL.

Ribeiro was messing around with former Stars teammate B.J. Crombeen in practice when Crombeen said, "I have this move that I can't do, but I think you could." Against the Kings on Nov. 11, Ribeiro dropped a pass to himself between his legs, then with his stick in one hand tipped in the puck.

"It helps you to have some stuff that gets into the mind of the goalies," he said. "You just have to be sure you can do it." "

Ribeiro is among the NHL leaders, scoring on five of eight attempts, so he can get away with the trickery. Others simply rely on a couple of moves and then read the goalie to see which might work.

When Jussi Jokinen was a shootout specialist with the Stars, he would go with a wrister over the blocker or a tricky backhand move. "I've tried some others," said Jokinen, now with Carolina, "but if you read the goalie, you have a better chance if you just stick to your best shots."

The goalie

Marty Turco learned his lesson against a good friend.

Early in the NHL's shootout debut season in 2005, Turco faced off against Brendan Morrison, a former University of Michigan teammate then playing for Vancouver. Turco had seen Morrison's best more than 100 times in practice, so he figured he could outsmart him.

Instead, Morrison guessed what Turco was guessing, went with a different move and left Turco embarrassed.

"I despise guessing," Turco said. "I don't do that anymore."

Like most good shootout goalies, Turco reads and reacts. He starts by facing the sideboards to get a good push off his right skate, then squares to the shooter. Once he's in the zone, he relies on instinct and reaction. Sometimes, that's an aggressive poke check. Sometimes, it's a wait-and-see approach. But always, it's allowing the shooter to set the scene.

"I've done it enough now that you just have to trust yourself," said Turco, who has stopped 21 of 33 chances this year. "You go in with a certain amount of information on a shooter, but you really just have to react to what he's doing."

Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller has stopped 21 of 29 shooters this season with the simple philosophy of staying calm.

"You stay patient and read the shooter," he said. "For a goalie, I think it's pretty simple."

The coach

Wayne Gretzky laughed when asked what his shootout philosophy is.

"I'm still working on it," said the Phoenix Coyotes coach. "You got any suggestions?"

Gretzky has tried having his team shoot first and tried shooting last. He has shuffled his shooters and tried different practice techniques. Still, the shootout is vexing to him.

"There is a lot to decide, and we're really still trying to figure it out," he said. "It's a lot of trial and error."

Given their choice at home, coaches often lean toward shooting first.

"There's a logical explanation for any decision, but a lot of it just comes down to a feeling for the game," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "We usually like to shoot first, but last time we shot last and won.

"I usually have a set lineup for the first three, but lately we've been spreading it around."

Tippett has traditionally put his best shooter first. This season, that often means Mike Ribeiro or Brad Richards.

A shootout could end after just two rounds.

"You don't want to finish a shootout and not have your best shooter shoot," Tippett said. "Plus, if you get ahead, it puts extra pressure on."

(me: the 'extra pressure' point makes sense, but the first is a fallacy often perpetuated by commentators -- to be precise, if the third shooter does not have an attempt, it is irrelevant that the 'best shooter doesn't shoot' because the outcome of the shootout would not have changed no matter his result... if a team loses the shootout 2-0 or 3-1 before their third shooter, it doesn't matter even if an automatic goal were given to that last shooter, it just makes the shootout score closer... and changing the order of the shooters wouldn't have changed the outcome either -- except for the 'pressure' point previously made -- the math is the same, the team lost because the other shooter(s) didn't score, not because the last shooter didn't get a chance)

The man on deck

Sergei Zubov is a student of the game. That's why he enjoyed his early role as a late shootout participant.

"I always like to watch the goalie and see what he does," said Zubov. "It helps me a lot."

Of course, coach Dave Tippett almost immediately elevated him to first shooter.

"I hated that," Zubov said.

Like the fourth man in a four-man scramble trying to sink that last putt, the second and third shootout shooters have an advantage. They see how a goalie is reacting. They see if he's sitting back or coming out aggressively. They see if his glove hand is slow or if he likes to push off of his right skate at just the right moment.

"I always watched their skates," Tippett said of his days in international competitions with Team Canada. "If a goalie is pushing off his right skate, then he will have a tough time going to his right. So you look at things like that. If he pushes off his right skate, shoot to his right side."

On the bench, everybody is chirping and making suggestions. But when you get out on the ice, the bench has to be left far behind.

"If you're thinking too much, it actually hurts you," center Mike Modano said. "I watch, but when I get out there, I pretty much know what I'm going to do. I think it's better to go in with confidence, pick your spot and just try to score there."

The wild card

Steve Ott has done the math and figures he is 14th on Dave Tippett's shootout depth chart.

"I could be all the way up to 11th, but I think probably 14th is safe," said the sharp-tongued agitator who is not known for his breakaway moves.

That said, Ott watches the shootouts as if he's going to be the next guy on the ice. He's enthralled by the emotion of the moment, and he says he believes he will be called one day.

"You just never know," Ott said. "You have to be ready."

Tippett confirms his selections have become more unpredictable. He said that in the past, he would roll out Sergei Zubov, Jussi Jokinen and Mike Modano, and that trio rarely forced him to pick beyond the first three. Now, he said he takes mental notes at practice, reads the body language of players during the game and even measures if the opposing goalie might have "a book" on some of his better shooters.

"I definitely think the chances are better now that we'll go with someone unexpected," Tippett said.

Mark Parrish found that out last month when he was selected to shoot against Buffalo. Parrish was stopped, but said he was more than ready when his name was called.

"There's a bit of a surprise, but you have a job to do," Parrish said. "So I watch the goalie, and I imagine what I would do in every shootout."

TOP GUNS

This season's NHL shootout leaders:

Player, team Results

Wojtek Wolski, Colo. 6-for-7

Ales Kotalif, Buffalo 6-for-9

Mike Ribeiro, Dallas 5-for-8

Brad Boyes, St. Louis 5-for-9

Nikolai Zherdev, NYR 5-for-11

SHOOTOUT KINGS

Since the NHL started the shootout in 2005, the Stars have the best record:

Team Rec. Win pct.

Dallas 30-12 71.4 pct

NY Islanders 24-13 64.9 pct

New Jersey 31-18 63.3 pct

Atlanta 24-15 61.5 pct

Colorado 22-14 61.1 pct

- 30 -

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Hard to take a coach seriously whose team is 30-12 since the induction of the shootout.

I don't understand why the logic of these decisions are so hard at times, you want to shoot last. It puts pressure on the other shooters to score on the 3rd shot and beyond because your team can end it.

Also in terms of order, you want

2nd best shooter

1st best shooter

3rd best shooter

descending order

The second shot always seems to be the most important because the shootout normally ends in the 3rd round (53% of the tim to be prcise), you want to go into the 3rd round up by one so having your best guy shoot 2nd makes the most sense.

Also Wayne, the NYR are 32-21.

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Hard to take a coach seriously whose team is 30-12 since the induction of the shootout.

I don't understand why the logic of these decisions are so hard at times, you want to shoot last. It puts pressure on the other shooters to score on the 3rd shot and beyond because your team can end it.

Also in terms of order, you want

2nd best shooter

1st best shooter

3rd best shooter

descending order

The second shot always seems to be the most important because the shootout normally ends in the 3rd round (53% of the tim to be prcise), you want to go into the 3rd round up by one so having your best guy shoot 2nd makes the most sense.

Also Wayne, the NYR are 32-21.

why is it hard to take him seriously? you think has fluked his way to the best record in the league?

I think all that arguement is meant to suggest is 'why would you slot your best shooter 3rd when there is a chance he won't even get the opportunity to shoot.'

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I think all that arguement is meant to suggest is 'why would you slot your best shooter 3rd when there is a chance he won't even get the opportunity to shoot.'
the answer to that is, "since it makes absolutely no difference if he doesn't shoot, the result will have been determined by the other two shooters regardless".... it's a completely illogical argument...
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