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Kovalchuk’s Epic Suggestion to Improve the NHL Shootout

When the NHL debuted the regular-season shootout in the 2005-06 season, it took the league and its fans by storm. And although it’s evolved over the past fourteen and a half seasons, Montreal Canadiens forward Ilya Kovalchuk has a suggestion that sounds pretty effing epic!

Ilya Kovalchuk knows a thing or two about NHL shootouts. His 68 shootout attempts to date tie him for 64th all-time, while his 29 goals (shooting 42.6%) are tied for 19th all-time… which is pretty damn impressive considering he played 5 seasons (2013-18) in the KHL during the height of his career.

Hell, had he stayed in North America he could be pushing Zach Parise (110) for the top spot in attempts and Frans Nielsen (49) for most goals.

Needless to say, if Kovalchuk wants to give shootout advice, we should all listen!

Rogers Sportsnet reporter Eric Engels tweeted Wednesday (1/22/20) that Kovalchuk said, “I think they should change the shootout rule; the first 3 (rounds) should be diff(erent) guys, but then the same guy can go again. That would create the battle of, say, Kane against McDavid. They could go 1 after the other and that would be for the fans.”

The one drawback would be never seeing a guy like defencemen Marek Malik going between the legs on Ollie Kolzig in the 15th round of a shootout in 2005.

But more importantly and exciting, who doesn’t remember T.J. Oshie officially ending the Cold War by going 3 for 5 in extra rounds (after scoring as the first US shooter in round 1) of the shootout against Russia in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics?!

Or the time Jonathan Toews scored three times in the semi-finals shootout of 2007 U20 World Junior Championships to send Team Canada to the championship game over Team USA?

Who wouldn’t want to see Crosby and Ovi, McDavid and MacKinnon, or Pastrnak and Panarin duke it out in a sudden-death shootout?! Our hockey pants are getting tight just thinking about it!

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