When the NHL announced that it would be moving to three-on-three overtime next season, with the aim of deciding games before they proceeded to a shootout, new Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was a happy man.
In the last two-and-a-half seasons before he was fired by New Jersey last December, no team in the league was worse in the shootout than the Devils. In 30 games that advanced to the skills competition since the start of the shortened 2013 season, New Jersey won just four times.
That includes 2013-14, when the Devils somehow lost all 13 shootouts they were involved in. Their shooters were an impossibly futile 4-for-45 that season.
“The quicker we can get rid of [the shootout], the better,” DeBoer told Brodie Brazil and John Lund on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday afternoon.
The American Hockey League implemented three-on-three overtime last season, and 75 percent of its games were decided before the shootout.
“I got a chance to talk to Rom Sommer, our AHL coach,” DeBoer said. “He said it was outstanding. It was fast, it was exciting. It usually ended the game one way or another.”
DeBoer also expanded on his plans for naming a new captain before the Sharks open their season on Oct. 7 in Los Angeles. At the NHL draft on June 26, the coach revealed to CSNCalifornia.com that the Sharks will “have a captain by the first game of the season.”
The Sharks went with four rotating alternates Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic last season after stripping Thornton over the summer. It didn’t work. DeBoer even suggested that it was a distraction throughout the unfruitful 2014-15 campaign.
“I feel very confident by the first game of the season we’ll have a captain, and it’s not something that we’re going to drag around as a distraction this year,” he said. “We’re going to move past that. I think the players are ready for that, too. They just want to play some hockey and get this thing back on track.”
These days, DeBoer is watching plenty of tape from last season. Not of the Sharks, though – he’s focusing on other teams in the Western Conference, trying to get to know them better after spending his NHL coaching career on the East Coast.
There’s another reason he’s not focusing too much on last year’s Sharks season, though.
“I promised them, from my press conference on, that I was going to give everybody a clean slate. If I watch all 82 games last year, I’m not sure I’m sticking to my word.”
The Sharks will open training camp in mid-September.