Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION


Shootouts add sizzle to the game... until, like Blake Wheeler, you whiff completely

  • Print

These are the shootout moments Blake Wheeler chooses to cherish: arms raised in celebration and the crowd at full throat as he touches his teammates' gloves while skating by a euphoric bench.

After all, there's nothing like besting an opponent mano-a-mano with the contest hanging in the balance.

So his complete whiff on an attempt in Tuesday night's 3-2 shootout loss against the New York Islanders will soon be all but gone and forgotten by the big Winnipeg Jets winger.

"I've got decent numbers in the shootout," said Wheeler when the subject was broached Wednesday, "but I'm normally better when I get a shot off instead of dumping it in the corner. Hopefully next time I'll challenge the goalie a little bit."

Ba-dum, dum.

Hey listen, give the guy some credit for at least having a sense of humour about it all.

Funny thing about the shootout, which ended up costing the Jets a point the other night after both Wheeler and Kyle Wellwood missed while P.A. Parenteau and Frans Nielsen both scored for the Isles:

When the home side wins, everybody in the building insists it's the greatest contribution to hockey since the invention of the jockstrap. But when the home side loses, the angry mob cries out about it being an absolute abomination that should be immediately trashed.

That script played out late Tuesday on the TSN Radio post-game show when fans debated head coach Claude Noel's decision to use Wheeler and Wellwood, despite the fact they lead the team in career shootout goals with nine each and despite the fact Wellwood -- along with Andrew Ladd -- scored the only goals in a shootout win over Florida earlier this season.

But no one ever said the facts should get in the way of a good rant.

Just for the record, Noel said Wednesday the call on the shootout participants against the Islanders was based on their career numbers.

"You go on the percentages and who has had success," said Noel. "Some guys are great scorers in games, but not in shootouts. Some guys don't want to be 'The Guy.' You don't ask the players, you just get a feel for what's what. Some guys have got good one-on-one moves and sometimes you practise it and watch. We haven't done it as of late, but we did earlier in the year and we know the records guys have had through the league.

"There are no guarantees... Wheeler's a real good shootout guy and he lost the puck. When you're dealing with three players (to take part), you go with your best first, that's the way that I go. I don't save my best for last because it might be over before you get to use him. And then you go from there. Once it gets into four, five and six, then you start to feel things out and maybe go with a hunch. You just don't know. There's no real answer there because you just don't know what you're going to get."

Wheeler said he got the tap on the shoulder not long after the overtime session ended against the Islanders. And, just so we're clear: he'll eagerly take on the challenge again when asked to do so.

"It's fun for everyone... the players, the fans, everybody," said Wheeler. "It's tough that a point comes down to something like that, but at the same time it's created a lot of excitement for the fans and as a player you want to be involved in it, too.

"I'll tell you what, though," he added, "it's a whole lot more fun when you score."

Twitter: @WFPEdTait


Love it or despise it, the shootout is a fixture in the NHL and plays a critical role in determining

which team picks up the extra point following an overtime game and, ultimately, who qualifies for the playoffs. Here's a look at some of the juicy shootout numbers:


2011-12 -- 1-2

2010-11 -- 5-7

2009-10 -- 4-6

2008-09 -- 7-1

2007-08 -- 9-6

2006-07 -- 7-4

2005-06 -- 5-5

All-Time: 38-31


A look at the career shootout numbers for the current Jets, including total shots taken, goals, scoring percentage and game-deciding goals:

Player Shots Goals S% GDG

Blake Wheeler 26 9 34.6 2

Kyle Wellwood 27 9 33.3 2

Antti Miettinen 25 8 32.0 3

Bryan Little 22 6 27.3 1

Andrew Ladd 10 4 40.0 3

Nik Antropov 14 3 21.4 0

Tim Stapleton 3 2 66.7 2

Jim Slater 1 1 100.0 1

Alexander Burmistrov 4 1 25.0 1

Evander Kane 4 0 0.0 0

Chris Thorburn 1 0 0.0 0

Dustin Byfuglien 6 0 0.0 0

Tobias Enstrom 1 0 0.0 0

Eric Fehr 3 0 0.0 0

Ron Hainsey 1 0 0.0 0


Top five NHLers who have scored the most game-deciding goals via the shootout this year:

Player/Team GDG

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey 4

2. Rick Nash, Columbus 3

3. Ryan Clowe, San Jose; Matt Cullen, Minnesota; Patrick Kane, Chicago; Joffrey Lupul, Toronto; Dominic Moore, Tampa Bay; Ryan O'Reilly, Colorado; Jason Spezza, Ottawa; Jonathan Toews, Chicago -- all tied with 2


Top five NHLers with most career shootout goals:

Player/Team Total G S% GDG

1. Jussi Jokinen, Car. 62 28 45.2 9

2. Pavel Datsyuk, Det. 55 27 49.1 9

3. Zach Parise, NJ. 55 27 49.1 9

4. Brad Boyes, Buf. 54 26 48.1 9

5. Radim Vrbata, Phx 55 26 47.3 10


Top five NHL goaltenders in the shootout this season:

Player/Team W L Shots Goals Sv%

1. Semyon Varlamov, Col. 5 0 16 2 .875

2. Johan Hedberg, NJ 5 1 18 6 .667

3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pitt. 3 1 12 2 .833

4. Craig Anderson, Ott. 3 1 14 4 .714

5. Corey Crawford, Chi. 3 2 14 3 .786

Ondrej Pavelec, Wpg. 1 2 7 4 .429


Top 10 active goaltenders in career shootouts:

Player/Team W L Shots Goals Sv%

1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR. 38 27 248 59 .762

2. Martin Brodeur, NJ. 37 19 195 54 .723

3. Ryan Miller, Buff. 31 20 175 52 .703

4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pitt. 30 16 142 33 .768

5. Kari Lehtonen, Dal. 26 16 141 40 .716

-- Chris Mason, Wpg. 17 15 101 30 .703

-- Ondrej Pavelec, Wpg. 4 11 42 19 .548

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2011 C1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Wilma Derksen shocked new trial ordered for Mark Grant

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Who has been the Jets' most valuable player this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google