February 12, 2014

A History of the Dreaded Olympic Shootout


I think most diehard fans will agree that the shootout is a terrible way to end a hockey game - especially an elimination game at an event as prestigious as the Olympics. Sure, they can't chance a lengthy, multiple overtime period game like the NHL does in the Stanley Cup playoffs, thanks to building commitments and television considerations. But it really, really is a terrible way to lose.

Just as any Canadian. After all, Canada is all too familiar with losing in such fashion. Who can erase from our memory that Peter Forsberg "stamp goal" in 1994 or Dominik Hasek's single-handed robbery in 1998.

But for all the fuss about the shootout, it really has not been a significant factor in Olympic elimination games. Since the IIHF/IOC chose to have shootouts to end deadlocked games in 1992, only four elimination games have been decided by the shootout.

1992 (Albertville) - Canada eliminates Germany in Quarterfinal Round. 

Yes, Canada has won a shootout at the Olympics, though most people probably do not remember it. This was prior to full NHL participation in 1998, though many of the names fans will recognize to this day. In 1992 Canada barely got by Germany in the quarterfinals. Eric Lindros finally beat goalie Helmet De Raaf in the 6th round of the shootout, while Sean Burke stopped Peter Draisaitl's (father of Leon Draisaitl) attempt to tie the score. Canada won the game 4-3. Jason Woolley and Wally Schreiber also had goals in the shootout for Canada.

1994 (Lillehammer) - Sweden eliminates Canada 3-2 in gold medal game

This remains the only Olympic gold medal finale ever to end in a shoot-out, and let's hope it stays that way. Oh sure, Swedish fans consider this to be among the most famous moments in their hockey history, and with good reason. It was their first Olympic gold medal championship, after all. They even turned the signature moment into a postage stamp.

Peter Forsberg's 7th round shootout goal - the second shootout goal of the night for him - finally won the game for Sweden. Tommy Salo stopped Paul Kariya's attempt to tie the game and secured the gold medal for Sweden - their first . It's funny how Swedish fans and hockey fans all around the world tend to forget about Tommy Salo's Olympic championship. He tends to be remembered much more for the Belarus fluke goal that eliminated Sweden in 2002.

1998 (Nagano) Czech Republic eliminated Canada in the Semifinal Round.

I speak for all Canadians when I say "do we have to talk about this one?" Czech Republic wins the game 2-1, eliminating Canada. Dominik Hasek stops pretty much everything all night long, except for a Trevor Linden goal that forced overtime. But "The Dominator" dominated the extra period and the shootout - stopping Theo Fleury, Brendan Shanahan, Eric Lindros, Joe Nieuwendyk and Ray Bourque - yes, a defenseman shot while Wayne Gretzky, the game's greatest goal scorer ever, sat on the bench. Robert Reichel was the only Czech player to solve Patrick Roy.

2010 (Vancouver) - Switzerland eliminated Belarus in the Qualification Round.

After not seeing any elimination shootout games in 2002 or 2006, the only shootout of 2010 barely registers on the hockey legend scale in comparison to previously mentioned games. But in 2010 Switzerland defeated Belarus 3-2 thanks to a Thomas Deruns goal, solving goaltender Andrei Mezin.

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