Brace yourself – Gary Bettman made some polarizing comments again. While discussing the topic of shootouts, Bettman admitted that some individuals within the NHL would like to see the shootout kicked to the curb. However, when it comes to fans, Bettman believes that fans like the game the way it is.
Here are Bettman’s comments, as seen on ProHockeyTalk:
“I think there are some members of the NHL family who would like to see fewer shootouts. We’re not hearing that from fans. Fans like the way the game is. That’s something we’re going to discuss. I’m not sure anybody is ready to make a change.”
Casual fans love the shootout. More passionate fans … not so much. It’s impossible to argue against the excitement seen around the arena during the shootout. However, at some point you have to question whether or not those moments of excitement are damaging the overall integrity of the game and the standings.
Bettman’s statements aren’t wrong (a large percentage of fans want the shootout to stick around), but this is the second instance over the last couple weeks in which he was told the fans what they want even though the evidence says otherwise. Remember when he said that fans aren’t interested in salaries and salary cap information? Cap Geek’s website traffic should disprove that thought in a hurry. The difference with the salary cap info is that no one is against the league publishing such info while there are people on both sides of the shootout arguments.
To be fair, this is a no-win situation. If you eliminate the shootout, you’ll make a lot of passionate fans very happy. At the same time, you’ll eliminate that little extra which has been so captivating to new fans. At the very least, it’d be nice if Bettman stopped telling fans what they want/like.