Friday, March 30, 2007

Not Another Fighting Post

Sorry, I'm trying really hard not to spend every single day talking about that issue.

But here's something else that deserves serious consideration.

Personally, if I had my way, I would bring back ties by doing away with the gimmick and stop rewarding teams for losing. The advent of the overtime loss has taken the "boring" hockey we used to see in the five minute OT period and moved to the last ten minutes of the third period and sometimes longer if the game was tied early in the third period.

But Frei brings up a very good point. Not only does the current point awarding system encourage point inflation, it also encourages record inflation as well. Since there are no more ties in the NHL, there is very simply one winner and one loser per NHL contest no matter how long the game is played or if a gimmick decided the outcome.

You'll notice in my previews that I add the losses together because of this. There are currently four teams, all in the Eastern Conference, who are currently selling their fans the fiction of an above .500 record. Oddly enough, all four of those teams are the "last four out" of the playoffs including tonight's opponent, the Florida Panthers. Poetic Justice? Maybe, maybe not.

Of course the official company line is "this is creating exciting playoff races." Well, again, maybe and maybe not. With 5 games left, tonight's opponent, the Florida Panther have a six point deficit to make up to get into the playoffs. Now if regulation wins were worth three points, the deficit wouldn't seem as large because that is two wins by them in regulation combined with two losses in regulation by the five teams ahead of them. Now that isn't very likely, but possible. But because Florida can only get two points for winning the game no matter what, their deficit grows. The Panthers now need three wins of their own and three losses in regulation by the five teams ahead of them. Furthermore because the five teams ahead of Florida can obtain points even if they lose the game, Florida has no real chance of making the playoffs this year.

Again, if I had my way, I would stop rewarding teams for losing hockey games. Winners get two points and losers get none. Teams play 82 games a year a piece and you don't need a winner in every single game so ties would be worth one point for each team. Furthermore, some of the most exciting hockey you will see is when two teams on the edge of the playoff race are going all out to get a win late in the season. If you're worried about "boring hockey," well shorten the season for starters. But whatever is done, the NHL needs to bring some sanity to its standings points structure.

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