A lot of people, mostly NHL traditionalists, hate the shootout for a lot of different reasons
The most common criticism is that 65 minutes of hockey is being decided with a skills competition, and that it would be the same thing as a baseball game ending on a home run derby or a football game ending on a field goal kicking contest.
Still, for as many people that hate it, there are probably just as many that enjoy the skill and leave the arena knowing that one team ended up winning the game. But that doesn't mean there aren't legitimate flaws and issues with the process.
Saturday's Buffalo-New Jersey game, which ended with a 4-3 Sabres win in a shootout, highlighted one of them, and something that should be viewed as a major: Players that end the overtime period on a penalty are still eligible to take part.
Even worse, players that take a penalty after the period ends are also eligible.
As time expired in overtime of Saturday's game, a skirmish broke out involving several players and resulted in Buffalo's Tyler Ennis earning a two-minute minor for roughing. He did something to earn a penalty, after time expired, and was still able to be used in the shootout.
Not only were the Sabres able to use him, but his goal ended up being the game-winning goal.
Doesn't really seem so. Ennis does something that earns him a penalty but never has to face any consequence for it, and not only that, ends up being the hero for his team for the day by scoring the deciding goal.
If you're in a tie game in overtime and your opponent is threatening to score as time is winding down it's in your best interest, even if you're a star player and a regular in your team's shootout rotation, to take a penalty -- trip him, hold him, haul him down ... anything -- to negate the scoring opportunity and the take your chance in the shootout.
It's not like you're going to have to sit it out.