Gary Loewen of Sun Media claims he doesn't think all empty-net goals "are for wimps"; just the ones that "come in the waning seconds with the outcome of the game no longer in doubt."
But Loewen's clearly got beef with empty-net goals counting towards a player's total for the season, as he explains in both sublime and ridiculous terms in the Toronto Sun:
The goal against isn't charged to the goalie, it's charged against the team. So why credit goals and assists for scoring into open nets? Simply award a team goal.
On the other hand, the NHL could use a fresh gimmick now that we've all become accustomed to the shootout. To challenge the shooter, put a cardboard cutout into the net after the real goalie vacates. Or hang a cow bell from the crossbar. Ring it off the bell and collect a goal!
Further, what is more important, [Toronto Maple Leafs forward Niklas] Hagman's freebie, which counts, or Drew Stafford's three shootout goals for the Buffalo Sabres? That's not to advocate having shootout goals become real goals.
Hell to the no. But he's clearly advocating that empty net goals shouldn't count as "real goals" either, and he's "outing" players like Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins (five EN goals out of 47 last season), the Atlanta Thrashers' Ilya Kovalchuk (five EN out of 52) and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell (two EN out of two goals) for abusing the system.
We disagree. They don't count for goalies because the goalies aren't on the ice. They count for position players because, quite frankly, they're a pain in the ass to score. More games end with a mad scramble in the defensive zone than with a puck gliding into an empty net. And from a fantasy hockey perspective, there isn't a fake GM on the Internet who is rejecting an empty-netter as counterfeit. Heck, you want to start a political movement to make shootout goals worth the same as "real" goals? Consider fantasy hockey players your base.
So two questions, should you choose to answer them:
1. Pass or Fail: Empty net goals no longer counting as "real" goals?
2. Since the shootout is here to stay (ugh), should skills competition stats count towards season totals for shooters and goalies?