by Mike Chen on 01/30/09 at 03:58 PM ET
I have a love-hate relationship with the goofy way NHL standings are calculated. While I think the “bonus loser point” takes away from the integrity of the game, it sure does make things interesting. In the West right now, teams 5 through 11 are separated by just two points. The East is a little more defined, though teams 7 through 10 are separated by three points.
The number of games played suddenly becomes the biggest ace in the hole and almost every game holds playoff implications. It’s still January and I can find something interesting to watch in just about every game (except yesterday’s Atlanta/Islanders matchup).
That being said, how would the standings look if they used the system I’ve constantly proposed (two points for a regulation/overtime win, one point for shootout win, no points for any type of loss)? Again, I think it has more integrity as it devalues the skills competition victories and doesn’t reward losing. Here’s how things would be under this system:
(The formula here is two points for the AW column (actual wins) and one point for the SOW column (shootout wins)
You can see that the 5-11 separation in the West is now seven points—a much steeper hill to climb. Out East, it’s actually a little bit of everything. You’ll notice a slightly greater separation between the teams in the hunt and out of the hunt, but there’s more bunching in the middle as the Rangers and Canadiens have inflated totals from shootout wins. So the middle of the pack is more of a dog fight but the teams trailing are farther behind.
It’s a double-edged sword. I know why the league would want more teams in the hunt as it keeps a larger segment of fans interested for a longer part of the season. But the “at least they got a point for losing” mentality still irks me, as it does many fans.
So here’s the question to you: would you like to keep the standings the way they are to keep more teams involved in the playoff hunt or would you like to remove the loser point to put more integrity into the standings?
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