SUN Hockey Pool

Smyth not a fan of shootout showdowns

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:20 PM ET

You might think the Edmonton Oilers' top sniper would love to see the NHL adopt the shootout.

Turns out, though, that Ryan Smyth isn't a big fan of the one-on-one showdown to solve overtime ties.

"I wasn't in favour of it. In my mind, it's too individual,"said Smyth after members of the Oilers gathered at the Westin hotel to watch the draft lottery.

"Leaving (it) as a tie would have been fine with me. You work so hard through 60, 65 minutes as a team and then it comes down to an individual goalie or the three shooters. But no question it's huge for the fans. We are moving forward for the fans and the betterment of hockey."

Georges Laraque might never get tapped on the shoulder to be one of the three breakaway shooters bearing down on a netminder. And while he met the concept of a shootout with a smile, taking part in one is a whole different matter.

"That's a whole lot of pressure. I don't really think I'd want the whole game at the end of my stick," said Laraque. "I saw a couple of them when the Road Runners were playing and the fans were on their feet.

"It's still an exciting way to end a game, especially instead of a tie, which is pretty boring to watch."

What Smyth particularly liked among the NHL new rules was an apparant commitment to clamp down on obstruction penalties.

"I think you're going to see your stars shine now and the clutching and grabbing in the past," said Smyth.

Captain Jason Smith and the rest of his blueline brothers will have to keep their heads on swivels with the removal of the red line allowing the long-bomb, home-run passes.

It's a cherrypickers' delight and a defenceman's worst nightmare.

"It's obviously going to change the game,"said Smith, who was waiting for clarification on the new icing rule.

"I'm sure the coaching staff are looking at ways to play a defensive game but hopefully it will generate more offence and more excitement for the fans."


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