Chicago Blackhawks players couldn't remember for sure, but most thought Monday's shootout drill was the first time coach Joel Quenneville had began a practice in that manner.
And why not?
The Hawks have lost both their shootouts this season, including Saturday night to the Colorado Avalanche, and haven't dented the back of the opposing net even once in six tries over the two games. The Hawks were 6-5 in shootouts last season and 9-6 two years ago. Was there an obvious message in opening practice that way?
"I don't know if it's trying to make a point or trying to do it with good ice," Viktor Stalberg said. "Usually at the end of practice it's pretty chewed up."
Ok, so maybe Quenneville wanted to mimic the ice the teams get when the Zamboni gives the shootout lanes a quick cleaning after overtime. Still, starting practice in that manner for a first time must have meant something. Quenneville was asked what he was looking for.
"Production," he laughed. "Its something you want to talk about but at the same time you don't want the guys that are going [out there] to feel more pressure. We know we can be better."