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Caps coach Adam Oates on shootouts: 'I don't believe in them'

Of all the coaches in the NHL, you might expect Washington Capitals boss Adam Oates to be a fan of the shootout. 

After all, as John Feinstein points out, the Caps are leading the league with eight victories in the "home-run derby" of the NHL. Their overall record after 60 minutes is just 11-14, but with four overtime losses and eight wins in the skills competition, the Caps are sitting pretty at second in the weak Metropolitan division. 

You'd think a coach would be pleased with a system that has propelled their team to a top half of the league standings. 

"I don't believe in them," Oates said Monday. "I know the fans like it, but that's because it has kind of a carnival effect. I mean, I get it. It's in the rules, but maybe because I never played with it, I don't really like it very much."

A quick look at the new playoff standings might reveal a few coaches, general managers and fans that might share the sentiment. 

Teams in the playoff picture have either avoided the shootout, or thrived in, which should be no surprise. Only Detroit, which has gone 1-6 in the shootout this year, are in the playoffs despite their inability to win in the shootout. 

Washington (8-3), Los Angeles (6-2) and Tampa Bay (5-1), meanwhile, have been reaping the benefits from the skills competition.  

Caps winger Troy Brouwer likes the shootout, telling Feinstein "It's the way of hockey now, so you might as well embrace it.

He has a point - since the shootout was brought in in the 2005-06 season, it has never decided more than 15 percent of games, usually hovering around the 13 per cent mark. 

This year, 89 of 566 games have been decided by a shootout, or 15.72 percent. 

So love it or hate it, teams on the bubble are going to live and die by the shootout, more so now than ever before.  

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