Well, it's more exciting than a coin-flip anyway. I have been mildly irritated that my seven year-old loves the shoot-out. And he got NHL 11 for his birthday, and the shoot-out is his favorite thing. In fact, I've noticed he activates the manual goalie control for both goalies and then just leaves them standing there. He switches back and forth between remotes, playing the shooters from both sides. But I digress.
NHL Shootout is a Crapshoot - Behind The Net
I considered all 5711 shootout shots taken during the 2005-6 through the 2009-10 seasons. The basic gist is that the NHL Shootout is a crapshoot. [...T]here is not enough evidence to suggest that individual skill levels make a difference in player shootout performance. [...] From 2005-6 through the 2009-10 regular seasons there have been 5711 shootout attempts. There have been 1878 goals which is a 32.88% success rate. [...]
- There were 571 shooters and 112 goalies involved in this analysis. The players that are do well and those that do poorly are often those that we would not associate with being the highest skilled. Among shooters Alex Ovechkin was 13/47 (27.6%), Ilya Kovalchuk was 9/37(24.3%) and Evgeni Malkin was 6/26 (23.1%). Among goalies Evgeni Nabokov was 54/145(37.2%), Chris Osgood was 26/67 ( 38.8%), while Johan Hedberg was 16/82 (19.5%).
- [...] Player performance does not seem to be related [...] from year to year.
- [...T]he randomness (or noise) of the shootout is completely dominating the skill of the players.
[...] Now this does not mean that a coach should send out any random player. What it means is that for the shooters that are selected --- the best on each team --- and the goalies in the NHL there is not enough evidence after five years of performance data that among these players any one is better than another at the shootout. This is not to say that there is not skill involved in the shootout. Rather the skill is vastly overwhelmed by the noise [....].