For the second time this month, I was able to sit myself down at my desk and stare at the wall until my brain was able to spit out three whole thoughts. Today, I’m thinking about the Oilers sweeping the Battle of Alberta for the first time in three decades, Laurent Brossoit’s first NHL win, and my plea to the NHL to kill the shootout.
After the Oilers laid the Flames over their lap and offered up a 7-3 spanking to complete the sweep on Saturday night, I took the last two days to soak in the victory. What really struck me was finding out that the Oilers hadn’t swept a series against the Flames in 31 years, which seems crazy. Certainly, the last 10 years of the BOA have been a complete write-off, but I thought maybe one of the decent but not great teams of the early/mid-2000s could have gotten something done?
History aside, the Calgary brooming from this season felt as different as it did new. Not once did the Flames impose their will over the Oilers like they’ve done so many times over the years. Not once did the Flames embarrass the Oilers and force us all to acknowledge just how terrible our favourite hockey is. In fact, this season’s BOA series was the complete opposite. Don’t believe me? Swing by FlamesNation.ca and check out what their fans thought of the series that they’ve historically had the advantage in.
As I write this, the Oilers’ all-time record against the Flames (including playoffs) is 116-128-19. That’s not good enough, and I’m happy to say that I think the pendulum is bound to swing the other way, and stay there, for the immediate future. All I know is that Oilers fans have put in their shift on the train ride to suck town, and I’m more than willing to give up my spot on that train to the fine folks in Calgary. Enjoy the ride, suckers, it’s an awful one.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 22, 2017
I have to admit that I was one of the people nervous about Laurent Brossoit being tasked with backstopping the Oilers to their first Battle of Alberta sweep in three decades. It’s not that I doubt that Brossoit is a solid goaltending prospect, but more so that he’s not ready for NHL duty on a semi-regular basis with the added pressure of a playoff hunt.
In 21GP with the Condors, Brossoit has amassed only nine wins with a save% of .908. Those aren’t particularly great numbers for an AHL starter, and I’ll admit that I was nervous. Starting your first NHL game of the season with the added pressure of a back-to-back start on Hockey Night in Canada is no small feat, and I wasn’t sure that the Oilers were putting Brossoit in a position to succeed. I was happy to be wrong.
Not only was LB rock solid for the Oilers, but he was the best goalie on the ice. Brossoit easily outplayed both Chad Johnson and Brian Elliott, and, as the cherry on top, he got his first NHL win against the team that drafted and traded him. That’s good sports right there, my friends.
To LB, I would like to formally issue an apology for my doubting him. I hope he takes his first NHL win, files it away in his brain bank, and uses it as motivation to get another. Next time around, I promise I won’t be so quick to doubt him.
NO MORE SHOOTOUTS, PLEASE
After the NHL decided to go with a 3-on-3 overtime format, it should have been enough to kill the shootout right there. Quite frankly, nothing kills the excitement of an overtime quite like having matters decided by hockey’s version of a 15-minute guitar solo. Sure, at times, they’re fun to watch and it’s neat to see what the guys come up with, but it’s not nearly as exciting as the drama of the overtime period.
What I propose is that the NHL kill off the shootout and replace it with a 10-minute 3-on-3 overtime period. Why? Let me explain. There is no bigger buzzkill quite like having your heart racing for the OT only to have the action stop dead while we wait for the shootout to start. How many times have we seen a shootout seemingly go on forever, delaying either the outcome or TV networks changing over to the game that’s meant to follow? It’s enough.
So far this season, 128 games have gone to a shootout. That’s 128 times that the NHL ruined their own product by ending the 3-on-3 overtime and finishing a game with a skills competition rather than actual gameplay. Wouldn’t it be way more interesting — and let’s not forget that the NHL is supposed to be entertainment — if the overtime period was extended and maybe, just maybe the game ended in a tie?
One thing I know is for sure: I would rather sit through 10 minutes of 3-on-3 and have the game end in a tie than have my hockey boner go limp because of the shootout.