What if every sport broke ties with a skills contest?


What if every sport broke ties with a skills contest?

By Justin Aucoin

Were big hockey fans over here at Wicked Good Sports. Absolutely love it. And over the years the NHL has been tweaking the rules of the game, trying to make the game more exciting and more appealing to a wider audience.

Some of the rule changes weve liked (nixing the two-line pass infraction), others were meh about (the silly goalie trapezoid) and then theres other we downright cant stand like the shoot out.

For the hockey-impaired, the shoot out happens if theres still a tie at the end of an extremely shortened overtime period. A lot of fans love it; a lot of fans hate it.

Were more on the hate it side. Why? Because it boils down to nothing more than a skills competition to decide a winner. It turns a team game into an individual game. In short: we feel like it cheapens things.

Doesnt help when players are allowed to do stunts like this:

For those wondering why this is a big deal, heres the official NHL rule:

"The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent's goal lineand once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete. No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind (an exception being the puck off the goal post or crossbar, then the goalkeeper and then directly into the goal), and any time the puck crosses the goal line orcomes to a complete stop, the shot shall be considered complete."

Looks like both happened. Yet even after a video review they let the goal count.

What a joke. That wouldnt fly on a penalty shot in-game, so why in a shoot out?

Imagine if every major sport ended their games like this? With skills competition?

Basketball could end on a dunking contest. Best jam wins.

Or if that is too subjective for your taste, maybe a quick game of HORSE.

Football could end on a field goal contest. Best out of three each kick moving further and further back. Pretty sure Buffalo would hate this idea.

Baseball would end on a homerun derby.

That might actually be better than waiting for a 19 inning game to end. Also, is there such thing as an exciting pitchers duel?

And soccer could end also on penalty shots.

Wait never mind. It already does.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat


WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Heat in Miami. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Will Celtics be drained by emotional comeback win Monday in Dallas?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]


Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?


Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

The Boston Celtics remain a team whose collective talents are far more valuable than their individual abilities.

But there are going to be nights when someone has to shoulder a larger burden of the team in order to win. More often than not, that “one” will likely be No. 11, Kyrie Irving. 

We saw in Dallas what can happen when Irving feels he has little choice but to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. 

The Celtics were desperate for a spark against the Mavericks and found it in Irving, who scored 47 points in leading the Celtics to a come-from-behind 110-102 overtime win. 

It remains to be seen if the Celtics will require a similar Herculean effort tonight when they take the Miami Heat with a chance to extend their winning streak to 17 straight. 

This team isn’t one to dwell on success in the past, even if the past was just 24 hours ago. But there’s no getting around how what happened on Monday night might impact what we see against the Heat. 

Boston expended a tremendous amount of energy in rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter at Dallas, the kind of effort that may be difficult to replicate against a Miami team that you can count on to play hard from the opening tip to the final horn. 

Irving’s performance was one of the rare instances this season when Boston clearly could not have won without their top scorer having a big game. 

“When we needed it most, he made big shot after big shot,” said Al Horford. “He had such good rhythm, I was thinking, ‘just let him keep it going.’ He just kept being aggressive, taking really good shots. He recognized he needed to be extra aggressive, especially at the end and score the ball for us.”

Scoring could potentially be at a premium against Miami which allows 102.5 points per game which ranks ninth in the league in fewest points allowed. Also, the Heat will test Boston’s perimeter defenders. Miami comes into tonight’s game averaging 11.1 made 3-pointers per game which ranks ninth in the NBA. 

The Heat are led by Goran Dragic who is averaging team highs in scoring (18.3 points) and assists (4.7) this season. 

These two squared off earlier this season in Miami with the Celtics coming away with a 96-90 win as Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum led the way with 24 and 20 points, respectively. In that game, the Heat were without starting center Hassan Whiteside, who will be in the lineup tonight as the Heat try to bounce back after losing three of its last four games.