Citing international laws forbidding cruel and unusual punishment, the NHL has decided that the Boston Bruins will no longer have to participate in the shootout, according to a well-placed league source.
Per the source, the league has considered this move for the past several weeks, but held off partly due to the belief that things couldn’t possibly get worse.
“After witnessing Monday’s game, they were forced to admit they were wrong,” said the source. “Seeing that debacle...how can you not act?”
The Bruins, who haven’t won a shootout since 1955, will still be allowed to participate in 3-on-3 overtime; however, if the game progresses beyond that, things will be decided by the two head coaches playing a game of “rock, paper, scissors” at center ice.
Concern has been building at league headquarters over the past several months, as the Bruins have turned the league’s ultimate skills competition into a true horror show.
Privately, the NHL’s Board of Governors has begun to worry that the Bruins’ shootout foibles are costing the league valuable eyeballs and valuable sponsorship dollars.
“Look, everyone on 6th Avenue knows what happens when this team gets into a shootout,” the source said. “Everyone turns the game off. Ratings tank, sponsors get nervous, and the league starts to freak out. It had to stop.”
While some may think the change gives the Bruins an edge, the league’s other teams, filled with compassion, are apparently on board with the NHL’s decision.
“It was hard to watch,” said one Eastern Conference general manager. “When we played them in one, it was clear that these guys were lost...it was like watching two different sports out there. No one deserves to go through that.”
Further reports indicate that the Bruins’ exploits in the shootout had been drawing attention to the league from international bodies, including the United Nations, NATO, and The Hague.
“At some point, it risked crossing the line into torture,” said the source. “Forcing that on people multiple nights a week for months and months...you start to fear legal trouble. We didn’t want to end up in court.”
Due to all of the changes, it stands to reason that Brad Marchand’s shootout failure may go down as the most consequential shootout (kind of) attempt in the history of the league.
“This goes beyond the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said the source. “This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and led to the camel being put out to pasture.”
By sparing the viewing public from watching further misery, the league has done a huge favor for its customers and has prevented kids everywhere from quitting hockey out of fear of someday having to take a shootout attempt for the Bruins.
However, our source indicated that the higher-ups at the NHL are aware that this move opens the league up to requests for further changes down the line.
“Making this call surely means that the league will have to consider making further amendments in the future,” said the source. “You can’t play favorites.”
While nothing is set in stone, the source said that the league has a number of changes under final review, including making all Toronto Maple Leafs playoff series best-of-6 instead of best-of-7 to avoid the inevitable horror show.