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Penguins

Sidney Crosby lukewarm toward continued use of shootouts to decide games

Chris Adamski
| Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, 4:48 p.m.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby beats Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the winner in the shootout Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby beats Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the winner in the shootout Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins' Phil Kessel beats Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson for the winning goal in the shootout Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Phil Kessel beats Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson for the winning goal in the shootout Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins' Patric Hornqvist celebrates with Phil Kessel after Kessel's winning goal in the shootout against the Sabres on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Patric Hornqvist celebrates with Phil Kessel after Kessel's winning goal in the shootout against the Sabres on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Consol Energy Center.

Phil Kessel enjoyed the gold medal-deciding shootout early Thursday morning — but mostly because his sister, Amanda, and his country, the United States, prevailed .

"I mean, I liked (using shootouts to decide games) last night," Kessel said Thursday, failing to suppress a chuckle.

But as for the Penguins forward's more general thoughts on using a shootout to determine the winner of high-stakes hockey games such as Olympic medal-round games?

"I think they should probably play through it, play out overtimes," Kessel said. "But how long have (shootouts) been going on in the Olympics like that? A long time. I think it will stay that way. It's a different event, and it probably should stay that way."

Kessel's most prominent teammate, captain Sidney Crosby, is increasingly sounding like a man who is not a fan of shootouts, particularly in games that decide Olympic medals.

"I can see in round robin, maybe, (since) you have to get so many games in," Crosby said. "But I think when you get to that point, it should probably be decided four-on-four, that's probably enough to get it done."

Then again, Crosby's native country's team (Canada) was on the losing end of a shootout Thursday. And Crosby scored the golden goal in overtime at the 2010 Olympics.

But Olympics aside, it sounds as if Crosby is cooling on the shootout as a means of deciding NHL regular-season games. Asked what he thought of that utilization of it, Crosby paused.

"Um, it's OK," he said. "I like the three-on-three (overtime). I think gives it a better chance to be decided kind of in a regular format. But with the schedule and back-to-back games, you can't go out there and play all through the night so you've got to decide it somehow.

"But it's probably not the same (in terms of enthusiasm) that it was as far as the shootout is concerned as it was early on when it was new (in 2005 for the NHL)."

Despite his lukewarm feelings on the shootout, Crosby remains one of the best in the league at it since its inception 13 years ago. And he recognizes its importance in its current format (a doubling of the points a team earns is on the line), and he acknowledges still enjoying participating in shootout attempts.

"Yeah definitely, that doesn't change," Crosby said. "When you are in that situation, you know how it important it is and you definitely get it up for it. But it just might not have same (excitement) effect as it did when it new."

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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