Friday, 4 April 2014

This Is The Playoffs, Right?

Game One went as the script predicted in the WHL as the heavily-favored Edmonton Oil Kings hammered the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-0 last night. There really should be no surprises there, so Brandon and Edmonton will battle tomorrow afternoon in Game Two of the WHL Eastern Conference semi-final from Rexall Place. The game starts at noon and both teams should be ready to go. I was about to write that I was hoping for a game that reaches triple-overtime or something, but it appears that won't be the case with the ruling the WHL handed down today.

Here's the release from the WHL today regarding Saturday's game.
The Western Hockey League has announced that the playoff game on Saturday, April 5, between the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Edmonton Oil Kings, may require a shoot-out to determine the winning Club should the game still be tied after two overtime periods.

Brandon and Edmonton are scheduled to play at 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 5, in Rexall Place, followed by a lacrosse game between the Edmonton Rush and the Colorado Mammoth that evening at 8:00 pm.

Consequently, if the WHL playoff game is tied after regulation and overtime is needed, there will be time to play two overtime periods. Should the game still be tied after the second overtime period, a shoot-out (as per WHL regular season rules) will be held to determine the winning Club.
Seriously, is this an April Fool's Day prank that came three days late? You're going to determine a playoff by shootout because of some National Lacrosse League game that plays at 8pm?!?

If there is one thing that should be held sacred in sports, it's that a playoff game is determined by the best team that day, not by an individual show of talent. Shootouts have determined medal winners in international hockey, but I hate that idea as well. Winning a playoff game should never be determined by the individual one-on-one shootout competition. I recognize that there are time restraints in place on the game with the NLL moving into Rexall Place that night, but it seems the WHL is content with removing the outcome of the game from the hands of the players - and one potential hero - and putting it into the hands of those who participate in the skills competition.

Frequent HBIC reader and occasional contributor Peter S. informed me that this is the second time in this year's playoffs that the WHL has had to make this ruling in Edmonton! According to Peter, "They had a similar contingency plan for Edmonton's first game against Prince Albert last series, but the shoot out was to be after one overtime period. Thankfully, it never got past regulation." That is UNREAL, readers, and I am against this idea 100 1,000,000%!

I have no idea how long it takes for the crew at Rexall Place to turn the rink into a lacrosse field. I'm assuming that three hours might be enough if the game were to reach 5pm after starting at noon. However, both coaches should carry the same message into the dressing rooms tomorrow afternoon: "Finish this one in five periods, boys."

Shootouts in the playoffs? We might see it happen in Edmonton.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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