The Chicago Blackhawks have dropped two straight shootouts in their last two contests. The next time the 'Hawks can't settle the score in regulation or overtime, they may want to try another skater at the end of the order.
Specifically, I'm suggesting coach Joel Quenneville replace Patrick Sharp with Marian Hossa. Come on, Q, at least give it some thought.
Sharp has come up empty twice this road trip with the game on his stick. Wednesday night in Minnesota, Sharp clanged his attempt off the crossbar as Chicago dropped its first game of the season to the Wild. Friday, Sharp had a chance to beat the Canucks before the Blackhawks fell to Vancouver.
This isn't blaming the loss on Sharp. There are a host of factors that led to those shootouts. What I'm saying is that Sharp doesn't exactly have the arsenal of moves to give him an edge in one-on-one confrontations.
Most times, Sharp heads straight for the goal and tries to zip one past his advesary's ear. The direct approach can certainly work, but time has proven that Hossa is more successful in the shootout.
Sharp's 19.5 percent rate of conversions in 41 such situations seems to suggest this. Meanwhile, Hossa has beaten goalies in almost 32 percent of his 44 attempts.
There are no sure things in the shootout, but I'll take 1/3 over 1/5 odds.
Taking the point a bit further, who else on the Blackhawks could Quenneville send out after Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane? If the game situation requires more than three shooters, who would you like to see?
Was Nick Leddy on that list?
To tell the truth, I wasn't completely shocked to see Leddy get the chance to beat Roberto Luongo as the fourth 'Hawks shooter. Leddy is capable of driving hard to the net and making a move. It did seem a bit strange with Hossa at Quenneville's disposal.
Dave Bolland might have been a possibility Friday, but he had left the game in the third period. Viktor Stalberg could merit a chance if a shootout stretches out.
Why Hossa isn't used more often is as mystifying as why Sharp isn't used at center. Of course, if Bolland can't go Saturday in Calgary, we may just see Sharp in the middle at some point.
Why not go with Hossa if Chicago finds itself in a shootout?
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