1 pt., 2 pts., 3pts., 4!

So much for the NHL being a league that cares about competitive balance.  They cannot be serious in saying they want that when some games have 3 points awarded, and other games have 2 points awarded.  It would be like saying some wins in the NFL are worth 2 wins and some are worth 1.  It makes no sense to have things this way.  The obvious solution has been discussed a thousand different places.  They would switch to the soccer method: 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for a OT/shootout win, 1 point for an OT/shootout loss, and 0 points for a regulation loss.

The great thing about this method is that it rewards teams for beating another team in 60 minutes. Remember the days when a team needed a win and they would pull their goalies late in the third period in a TIE game?  Now that was fun!  There is no need for that anymore because they can just wait to beat them in OT or in a shootout.  There is no value in winning a game in regulation.  The only motivation to win a game in regulation is to not give the other team a point in the standings.  But if your are playing an inter-conference game, there is no motivation to even do THAT.

This is another reason why it is hard to determine where the point total will be at the end of the year to see who makes the playoffs or not.  In the past, when every game had two points awarded, you had an idea of where the playoff cutoff point was going to be because you knew exactly how many points would be awarded throughout the entire season.  But now with some games having 3 points and some having 2 points, we honestly have no idea how many points are actually up for grabs.

Yes, the current formula does allow more teams to stay in the playoff longer then they would under the old system.  But at what expense?  Should a team that is less qualified make the playoffs over a team who was better at beating teams in regulation just because the one team happens to have players who are better at breakaways?  That is the question.  If the league thinks the answer should be yes, then the current system does that.  But the theory we hear a lot is that the league does not want to skew the history books with the new point system.

There are two contradicting issues with the leagues view.  First off, they have already  messed up the point system by adding potential 3 point games.  So right there, their argument is pretty much moot.  But there is also the issue of not wanting to skew the history books.  They already have.  Since there is a winner and a loser every game now, goaltenders get a more wins then they used to.  Every shootout win a goalie gets is a win that they never would have gotten in the old system.  Look at the all time single season win totals as the proof.  5 of the top 10 all time wins in a season are post lock out when the shootout was instituted.

So how would the new system effect the standings?  Well I did the research and figured it out.

Here are the standing as of today (1/15/2010) under the current system

NJD 32-12-1 = 65 pts

BUF 29-11-5 = 63 pts

WAS 28-12-6 = 62 pts

PIT 30-18-1 = 61 pts

BOS 23-16-7 = 53 pts

NYR 22-18-7 = 51 pts

OTT 23-21-4 = 50 pts


PHI 23-20-3 = 49 pts

NYI 20-19-8 = 48 pts

ATL 20-19-7 = 47 pts

TBL 18-18-10 = 46 pts

FLA 19-20-8 = 46 pts

TOR 16-23-9 = 41 pts

CAR 14-25-7 = 35 pts

Here are what the standings would be today if the NEW system was used:

NJD 25-7-12-1 = 90 pts

BUF 23-6-11-5 = 86 pts

WAS 22-6-12-6 = 84 pts

PIT 21-9-18-1 = 82 pts

NYR 20-2-18-7 = 71 pts

BOS 16-7-16-7 = 69 pts

PHI 19-4-20-3 = 68 pts

MTL 12-11-21-4 = 62 pts


TBL 15-3-18-10 = 61 pts

ATL 14-6-19-7 = 61 pts

OTT 16-7-21-4 = 59 pts

FLA 13-6-20-8 = 59 pts

NYI 11-9-19-8 = 59 pts

TOR 15-1-23-9 = 56 pts

CAR 10-4-25-7 = 45 pts

So the teams that seem to be most positively effected by the new system would be Philadelphia which goes from 10th in the conference to 7th and Toronto who, while still in 14th in the conference, are only 1 regulation win and one OT/shootout win behind 8th place.  The teams that are most hurt by this are Ottawa and the Islanders.  Ottawa goes from 7th to 10th while the Isles go from 10th to 13th.  But if you look at these standings, what jumps out?  MORE teams are in the playoff hunt under this system.  So if the league wants to have as many teams in the playoff hunt, the new system is BETTER, while being the fairer system.

Lets now look at what the standings would look like if the NHL went back to the system used before the lockout (where a team received 2 points for any sort of win and a team received one point for a tie or a OT loss).  What this system does is more or less take away the bonus points that have been awarded in shootouts.

BUF 27-11-7 = 61pts

NJD 26-12-7 = 59 pts

WAS 24-12-10 = 58 pts

PIT 24-18-7 = 55 pts

NYR 20-18-9 = 49 pts

BOS 18-16-13 = 49 pts

PHI 20-20-6 = 46 pts

OTT 19-21-8 = 46 pts


MTL 19-21-8 = 46 pts

TBL 17-18-11 = 45 pts

NYI 16-20-12 = 44 pts

ATL 16-19-11 = 43 pts

FLA 14-20-13 = 41 pts

TOR 15-23-10 = 40 pts

CAR 11-25-10 = 32 pts

Once again the biggest winners here are Philadelphia and the biggest losers would probably have to be New Jersey, since they lose the top spot in the conference because of this.

So here are three separate systems the NHL could use to determine standings.  They could also go back to the days where if you lost in OT you would get 0 points, but I do not think that ever would, or should happen.  A team does deserve something for being tied after 60 minutes in my opinion.  So the way I see it, the NHL has two options:  keep the shootout and go to the soccer method, or lose the shootout and go back to the point system the way it was prior to the lockout.

While the pre-lockout system does have the contradiction of having some 3 point games and some 2 point games, I believe this is the best method (even though I rail against the contradiction in the beginning of the blog).  Teams would be playing more conservative in OT games that are intra-conference because they would have the ability to not allow a bonus point to the other team if they can get through OT tied.  Of course, games that were inter-conference would be more wide open in OT because there is no penalty in giving the bonus point away to the other team.  But I always have a funny feeling in my mind after games that end in the shootout.  Did the winning team really win and the losing team really lose?  Not in my opinion.  They tied, and that's the way it should stay.

Please let me know what you think about this.  This is an interesting subject.

<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>

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