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Canes may need to rethink shootouts

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WASHINGTON  -- Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice conceded Sunday that the time probably has come to reevaluate the players he sends out in shootouts.

"At some point you have to," he said.

The Canes are at that point. For the third time in five games, Carolina lost a shootout Sunday as Washington's Alex Ovechkin had the only shootout goal in the Caps' 3-2 victory at Verizon Center.

Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu all came up empty for the Canes against Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov.

"There's not a lot of guys we're holding back on the bench, who have done it a while or really shown they've had success with it, " Maurice said. "The question we're going to have to answer is, do we just keep running these guys until they get back to form, because they have been very good at it, or do you have to start auditioning other people?

"It may be a little bit of both."

Jokinen, considered one of the league's top shootout threats, is 26-of-54 in his career but 0-4 this season. Skinner is 2-for-4 in his rookie year and Ruutu 8-for-19 overall and 0-2 this season.

Eric Staal is 2-for-13 in his career and rarely used in shootouts. Then again, Ovechkin was just 14-for-49 before scoring Sunday.

The Canes won their first shootout this season, beating the Minnesota Wild in Finland. They've now dropped three but Maurice said he still favors deciding games with shootouts.

"I do. I don't like the way it's weighted in terms of the value it's given but I don't have a solution for it and I don't complain about it," he said. "Ties are just not fun. If you ask the fans to invest their time and invest their money, it's a pretty exciting moment in a hockey game.

"Coaches don't like it because it's not really a team event. It's a novelty. But the fact of the matter is I think it's great for the game."

The Canes just need to find a better way of going about it in shootouts Maurice said.

"They're a lot more fun with you win 'em," he said.

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Shoot outs

Definitely need to change the line up for the shoot out. Why not try Sutter, LaRose, or Dweyer, how about Staal. The current line up that has been used isn't working. CHANGE IT PLEASE!!

Sutter and LaRose will

Sutter and LaRose will probably get auditions in a future practice. Carter and Tlusty too.

Dwyer had a bad record in AHL shootouts.

Staal has a bad record in NHL shootouts. Just notice how many breakaways he fails to convert; one-on-one is clearly not his game. 

I don't think it's the

I don't think it's the shooter's as much as  it's the goalies...Cam Ward as good as he is is Terrible at shootout's. Just like some shooter's with a good wrist shot and deak moves are great ,but in a game there average...Go figure Staal/Ovy = average and Jokinen/Skinner are great on shootout's...just a thang i guess.

Ward and the Shootout

I agree.  When Ward is on his "A" game, he steals games for the Hurricanes.  He's still a very young goalie, but he is not the NHL's best shootout goalie.  Who knows the reasons why; and he is likely to improve as his overall game improves.  For example,  Ward still is less talented at stopping glove side high shots as his other elite skills.  Ward is a goalie around whom a team can win more than one Stanley Cup; and as he matures as a goalie, the Canes will see the benefits.
 

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at chip.alexander@newsobserver.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.
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