Yesterday on the Backhand Shelf Podcast with myself and Justin Bourne, we talked about players who were good and bad in the shootout. We didn’t plan on it, but our conversation turned to “If the shootout had been around forever, what players that we grew up watching would be good and bad in it?”

This conversation was sparked when we realized that Steven Stamkos is 0-9 over the last 2 years and Justin pointed out that most of his goals were one-timers.  Our conversation was brief, so I thought I would write a post about it.

The key to this is the player had to have scored a lot of goals. We can all agree that the Lou Franceschetti’s of the world probably wouldn’t be chosen to take part in the shootout.

The Best

Mario Lemieux (690 goals)

Mario scored from pretty much everywhere on the ice, but you just knew he would score on the breakaway. His first NHL goal came on a breakaway, after embarrassing Ray Bourque he roofed it on a breakaway, and he scored on a penalty shot in that famous “Mario Scores every possible way” night.

Pavel Bure (437 goals)

If I had to guess what percentage of Bure goals were scored on a breakaway, I would say it’s about 99.9 percent (I have been known to exaggerate a bit). Some of Bure’s most famous goals were when he was sent in all alone, and imagine if he would stuff like THIS in the shootout.

Peter Bondra (503 goals) 

Much like Bure, Bondra was one of those players that seemed like he was put on earth to do one thing: Score goals. He had a great shot and could score from anywhere, but there were times when he would deke a goalie and have an empty net, and still make a few more moves just for fun. Great hands

These guys would be….pretty good

Wayne Gretzky (894 goals)

Before you get your panties in a bunch, The Great One himself has said that he was not so “Great” on breakaways. However we can’t ignore the fact the were are talking about the greatest goal scorer in the history of the game. I would use Wayne more towards the end of the season when the pressure was high, he has succeeded there before. (I wonder if Marc Crawford were writing this post where he would put Wayne)

Steve Yzerman (692 goals)

Steve Yzerman’s stick handing was a thing of beauty, and we have seen him score some great goals. Most of those goals however were scored because the goalie was so stunned at what he did to his teammates that he couldn’t be bothered to stop the puck.

Jeremy Roenick  (513 goals)

If this was NHL ’94 he would be in the first list, but being that life is not a video game, he drops down to this one. Roenick’s shot allowed him to score from everywhere, but he did have some sick moves that would make him entertaining in  the shootout  (On AND off the ice)

Would NOT be sent out to shoot

Brett Hull (741 goals)

Close your eyes and picture Brett Hull scoring a bunch of goals. Question: Did you think of any that were on a breakaway? Me neither. Hull is the 3rd all time leading scorer in NHL history, but a HUGE number of those goals were one-timers. In my opinion he had the best release in hockey history, but we rarely heard a play by play man say “Hull going in all alllllonnne…….”

Dave Andreychuk (640 goals)

Unless the shootout format was changed to “start with the puck around the hash marks and have one defenseman try to stop you while you keep it away with a long reach”, Dave is sitting on the bench come shootout time.

Dino Ciccarelli (608 goals)

Dino scored most of his goals like Andreychuck did, standing in front of the net. However his reach wasn’t that long so he relied on the one skill he had: he was able to take a beating like Rocky. That really doesn’t translate into shootout success.

Who do you think would have been good/bad in the shootout? comment or tweet me @robpizzo


Let’s head to the links

Even after his playing days are over we are STILL hearing Gretzky to the Leafs rumours (Toronto Star)

Looks like Jagr’s “lower body” injury is his….(Pro Hockey Talk)

This list of players running into goalies is brought to you by Milan Lucic…oh, and Puck Daddy too

All you need to know is Marc Andre Bergeron, and booty call. (Dirty Dangle)

Jeff Carter wants out of Columbus?? already?? (The Fourth Period)

If Ryan Miller were to write a letter to the hockey world, it may look something like this (Barry Melrose Rocks)

Hal Gill taken to hospital (The Province)

Tyler Myers not suspended or fined for hit (Fire and Ice)

Man the Ducks are bad right now (Anaheim Calling)

and finally, how do you kick a player in the head?