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Poll results: Should the NHL change its penalty shot rules?

Martin Erat, Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien

Nashville Predators right wing Martin Erat (10), of the Czech Republic, is interfered with by Chicago Blackhawks right wing Dustin Byfuglien (33) as Erat closes in on Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi, left, of Finland, in the third period of a first-round NHL Western Conference hockey playoff game on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. Erat was awarded a penalty shot and scored. The Predators won 4-1 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


An NHL team would always prefer a penalty shot to nothing at all, but what happens when the guy receiving it barely has a prayer of scoring? Sure, it usually takes a fleeter-of-foot (and therefore, often more-skilled) player to produce most breakaways, but that’s not a guarantee. Especially if the guy received the opportunity because he stepped out of the penalty box at the ideal time.

So, with that thought in mind, I polled PHT readers to find out the best way to handle that situation. Should the team be able to choose which player takes the penalty shot, as is done in Olympic competition? Maybe an NHL team can decide on case-by-case basis if it wants to take the penalty shot or a normal two-minute powerplay? Then again, some readers might just want to keep it the same way.

Take a look at the poll results below. (Click to enlarge)

Image (2) penaltyshotpoll-thumb-250x136-14107-thumb-250x136-14108.jpg for post 2162

James O’Brien

As you can see, the most popular choice was the one I lean toward a little bit: give the team a choice between a PP or a penalty shot while keeping the rule the same was the closest runner-up.

Who knows if the NHL will ever change the rule. It’s not really a life-or-death question, but I still think it’s a rule that could benefit from a minor tweak or two. What do you think?