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The Shootout Really Counts

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Here’s a statistical curiosity that – if it continues – is going to have a real impact on the final standings of a shortened 48-game NHL season.

Of the first 127 games played this season through Monday, 30 went to overtime and 18 were decided by shootouts.

That’s roughly in line with the historical average. But what’s different is how the vast majority of the “loser” points – 21 as compared to nine – were “earned” by teams playing in Western Conference.

The NHL changed a lot of things about the business of hockey in the last round of collective bargaining negotiations, but the bizarre practice of awarding three points for some games and two points for others was never broached.

It meant that in the first 17 days of the season, there were 12 additional points awarded in the Western Conference, which is going to make it even harder for the early bottom feeders to make up ground as the season moves along. After all, there is no interconference play this year – and the divide between West and East is particularly acute when it comes to shootouts.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

The 3-point game, along with the schedule help create false parity.
Only in the NHL can you win 3 out of 10 games and still be .500.
It helps sell tickets. Teams that finish 13th in the conference can still tell their fans “We didn’t make the playoffs but we were above .500!”.

Then you have the schedule. Ever notice how it always seems a very good team plays it’s 3rd game in 4 nights against a crap team?

It’s all smoke and mirrors to make fans think the league is so close in talent.

It’s also the reason we’ll never see 3-point regulation victories.
My personal wish is to reward any regulation or OT win with 2 points, and any SO victory only 1 point, with the loser getting NOTHING.

Coaches, especially in the West, play grab-ass hockey for 60 minutes hoping to secure at least 1 point. It can make for really boring games over the first 3 periods.

But the NHL won’t do anything about it from it’s high and mighty Parity-Pulpit.

Posted by Hank1974 on 02/06/13 at 08:50 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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