Mike Babcock raised the ire of a lot of people last night by deferring to Sidney Crosby rather than Rick Nash on a penalty shot last night. I understood the logic behind his choice: the guy with the best shooting record should take the shot. It wasn’t favouritism (despite an argument I had with a co-worker this morning), it was adherence to a sensible plan. I’m also unimpressed with the idea that Nash needed the shot to get going; the fact that he drew the shot and the fact that he scored against the Germans later in the game make that a non-issue.
That said, Crosby’s shootout numbers over his career are so similar to Nash’s that I’m not sure it mattered. The table below is the career numbers for every player on the Canadian team with more than 10 attempts. We’re still dealing with small numbers here, but this is a slightly better sample than just using this past season’s numbers.
Of players not listed, three have scored goals. Joe Thornton is 2/9 on his career, while Drew Doughty has gone 2/5 and Brent Seabrook is 1/1.
Based on the numbers above and Babcock’s selections against Switzerland, it appears that he’s running from this year’s record rather than career, which strikes me as a foolish thing to do given the size of the numbers involved. This blog seems to be transitioning into a Jonathan Toews love-fest, but I think it’s clear that he should be the number one option with a bullet on the power play (particularly given his international shootout record), followed by Crosby and then Getzlaf, with Morrow and Nash getting looks later on if one of the above isn’t getting the job done. Olympic rules being what they are, I can’t see a reason to use anyone outside that group of five.