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Brooks takes shots at Ken Holland, NHL’s new tie-breaking policy

While insisting that his complaint is “not about the Rangers,” the New York Post’s Larry Brooks launches into his usual Sunday morning rant by bashing Red Wings GM Ken Holland for proposing a rule change which could negatively affect the Rangers’ playoff hopes:

Not all losses are considered equal in the gimmicked-up league, and neither are all wins. Before their loss to the Islanders on Thursday, the Rangers were 41-31-5, which in the real world translates to 41-36. The Sabres were 39-29-9, or a bottom line 39-38. Yet Buffalo held the lead in the standings because starting this season, the first tiebreak is no longer total victories, but non-shootout victories.

The league is prepared to have a tournament berth decided by a single shootout, but not by the cumulative effect of a season of shootouts. Victories always had been the first tiebreak, even after the league adopted the shootout as an entertainment vehicle coming out of the lockout. But when the number of shootouts increased to 184 last season, up from an average of 156 the first four years of the skills competition, Detroit GM Ken Holland led the charge to change the rules.

The fact that the Red Wings were 6-9 last season and an all-time 23-29 probably had nothing to do with it. Detroit always is about the good of the league, never its self-interest, going back to the time when the club chose to move to the West in order the ensure less challenging competition for a playoff berth. It’s interesting that when Johan Franzen was injured a few years ago in the playoffs and Holland thought his player was then targeted by the opposition, the NHL summarily changed its rule about injury disclosure. It’s interesting that when Detroit drove through the Holland Tunnel signing players to front-loaded, long-term contracts, the NHL never blinked, but when . . . well, we digress.

When did the Wings move to the West again? Was it in 1991? Um, no…And it wasn’t Holland who signed off on changing injury disclosure in regular season to “upper” and “lower”-body injuries, which Holland, ironically enough, wanted to limit to the playoffs and the last 10 or so games of the regular season…

If the NHL had wanted to make a point (rather than giving away points to losers), the league would have either adopted a simple win-loss, baseball-type approach to the standings, or, it could have moved to a system in which regulation victories would have been worth three points.

Brooks continues with a rant against the substance of the “History Will be Made” commercials.

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Comments

Evilpens's avatar

I wish people in hockey would STOP taking Brooks as legit ! The Guy is the equivalent of a Charley Manson Lookalike with a Sandwich board trolling downtown streets saying repent the END IS NEAR !

Posted by Evilpens on 04/03/11 at 10:21 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The league is prepared to have a tournament berth decided by a single shootout, but not by the cumulative effect of a season of shootouts.

So… Brooks means that the league saw a problem in what happened last season and moved to fix it?

There are few things that make me happier than anything that pisses off Larry Brooks.  I have agreed with him perhaps two times in the previous two years in all of his histrionic ranting and raving.  If league business were left up to Larry Brooks, the NHL would be a hot mess.

A question: Brooks is part of the group refusing to vote on the postseason awards because of the Chris Botta situation, right?

If so, that might be the best news to come out of that train-wreck.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/03/11 at 10:34 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I don’t read Brooks regularly, but on the occasion that Paul links to his stuff, I often find my self agreeing with his “rants”.

I am a Wins fan, but also an NHL fan.

I don’t know what Hollands motives were in lobbying for the changes which Brooks speaks of, but I don’t like the generic injury report “upper” “lower” body stuff either. I do agree with the non shootout wins as a tie-breaker. I thought the Rangers/Flyers ? shootout to decide who got in the playoffs on the last day of the season was a JOKE.

As much as I wish the league would get rid of the shootout, I know it’s here to stay.
I have created my own solution to the shootout debacle. No matter the game, Wings games included, if it isn’t settled by 5 min of OT,  I switch it off. I haven’t had had an occasion to be at a game in person which was going to a shootout, but I like to think I would get up and head for the exit.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/03/11 at 11:03 AM ET

monkey's avatar

This is obviously sour grapes, but Brooks makes what might be a good point about front loaded contracts.  I noticed early on, after the league adopted the new contract rules, that Zetterberg’s and Franzen’s contracts both fell within the new rules, despite all the carping coming from certain circles that they should have been considered illegal (if memory serves all previously signed deals were grandfathered, so the point was moot, but still interesting for discussion purposes).  I took it as yet another sign that Ken Holland is a genius, shrewd, and ethical to boot, but someone like Brooks could easily see it as the NHL going out of it’s way to endorse what Holland did with those contracts (or as Holland being the driving force to write the rules in just that way, to enshrine his method as league policy).

Brooks is correct about the league’s method of awarding points in the standings- it’s stupid and gimmicky, and at worst not fair to some teams in certain situations.  “The league is prepared to have a tournament berth decided by a single shootout, but not by the cumulative effect of a season of shootouts”.  Good point, but sour grapes nonetheless, coming from a Rangers fan.  But then again how shitty would it be for them if, after having missed out last year due to a shootout loss, their own shootout wins this year basically count against them this year and keep them out yet again?  Of course, there is a simple fix for this- win more.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 04/03/11 at 11:15 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t know what Hollands motives were in lobbying for the changes which Brooks speaks of, but I don’t like the generic injury report “upper” “lower” body stuff either.

I could have been his motive that when he had to disclose that Johan Franzen was suffering concussion-like symptoms and then saw Gary Roberts give him a cheap punch to the side of the head in his first game back.

Or it could have been the next year when everybody knew that Pavel Datsyuk had injured his foot and in HIS first game back, Maxime Talbot slashed him directly on the foot which was hurt.

Ultimately, it’s none of anybody’s goddamn business what specific injuries the players are suffering from, especially when it comes to the grim reality that even teams other than the Penguins (who are just an unfortunate easy example here because of the Stanley Cup Finals appearances) have guys who will do cheap things to reaggravate known injuries.  I don’t know where this concept that everybody somehow has a right to know whether or not a player tore his groin or has an ingrown toenail.  I like to know these things, sure, but if they never publicly disclose any injuries, that’s their own right.

Brooks is correct about the league’s method of awarding points in the standings- it’s stupid and gimmicky, and at worst not fair to some teams in certain situations.

The best solution there is to either eliminate the shootout or go to the 3-2-1 points format.  I’m actually hoping the Rangers miss the playoffs this year by the tiebreaker just to put an extra emphasis that, if a shootout victory is going to be worth less than a regulation or overtime victory, they should make it official with the points standings.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/03/11 at 11:30 AM ET

monkey's avatar

I like to know these things, sure, but if they never publicly disclose any injuries, that’s their own right.

Agreed- medical information is privileged.  There is nothing wrong with keeping it confidential.

The best solution there is to either eliminate the shootout or go to the 3-2-1 points format.  I’m actually hoping the Rangers miss the playoffs this year by the tiebreaker just to put an extra emphasis that, if a shootout victory is going to be worth less than a regulation or overtime victory, they should make it official with the points standings.

Agreed.  However, in the 3-2-1 format, would an OT win be worth 3 or 2 points (in other words, is an OT loss worth zero and a SOL worth one, or are both worth one)?  I propose that an OTL be worth zero.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 04/03/11 at 11:49 AM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Brooks is a buffoon. Where is John Tortorella (if you haven’t seen his youtube battles with Brooks, check it out) when you need him??

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 04/03/11 at 11:52 AM ET

Krononymous's avatar

Queue The Jam, Larry:

The bitterest pill is mine to take
If I took it for a hundred years, I couldn’t feel any more hate

The sad thing is, the Rangers don’t need or want your excuses.

Posted by Krononymous on 04/03/11 at 12:00 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

However, in the 3-2-1 format, would an OT win be worth 3 or 2 points (in other words, is an OT loss worth zero and a SOL worth one, or are both worth one)?  I propose that an OTL be worth zero.

I previously wanted 3 for regulation win, 2 for OT/SO win, 1 for OT/SO Loss, but I think I’d change that to 3 for a regulation/OT win, 2 for SO win, 1 for SO Loss

I’d also be ok with 0 for a SO loss just to make the five minute overtime that much more exciting.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/03/11 at 12:05 PM ET

Avatar

I propose that an OTL be worth zero.

That’s insane.  If you go through regulation and OT without losing you should get a point, but if you lose in the gimmick you get zero points?

That is a horrible, terrible idea.

Posted by Garth on 04/03/11 at 12:05 PM ET

monkey's avatar

That’s insane.  If you go through regulation and OT without losing you should get a point, but if you lose in the gimmick you get zero points?

No, OT is not a gimmick, the shootout is the gimmick.  What JJ and I are saying is, if the league is going to keep the shootout, and they want the shootout loss to be worth one point, they should adopt a 3-2-1 points system.

Regulation or OT win = three points
Shootout win = two points
Shootout loss = one point

That’s one form of a 3-2-1 system, which assumes the league keeps the shootout.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 04/03/11 at 12:30 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I’d also be ok with 0 for a SO loss just to make the five minute overtime that much more exciting.

Word.  Just take the plunge already-  two points for a win, zero points for a loss.  No more playing to get the extra point.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 04/03/11 at 12:32 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

Posted by monkey from bat country on 04/03/11 at 11:30 AM ET

Good system, I would like to see 5 min. added to OT. So we have a 10min 4-4. OT is so much more interesting than a skills comp.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 04/03/11 at 12:48 PM ET

Avatar

Ahh good old new york media, still thinks the east is the tougher conference…  While it may be more even now, the evidence from 95 is clear, the west has won almost twice as many cups as the east.

Posted by Joe from Afghanistan on 04/03/11 at 12:54 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

George pointed it all out quite nicely… but pretty much everything Brooks hammers Holland for is revisionist history.

And even if it weren’t, you’re damn right Holland’s going to support changes that benefit his team. THAT’S HIS FUCHING JOB. Moron.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/03/11 at 01:18 PM ET

Avatar

I like Holland’s tie-break idea a great deal. Now if we’d only give the overtime/shootout loser zero points (live with it), the system would be fixed.

Posted by steviesteve on 04/03/11 at 01:36 PM ET

Avatar

Wow talk about tin-foil hats…

Did anyone read about the History will be made stuff?

So Dale Hunter shouldn’t be allowed in a commercial because he checked Turgeon after the play? admittedly that was a cheap shot, but Larry goes on to talk about how it ended Turgeons career and he was a shell of a player after that. He got a separated shoulder. and went on to have many more quality seasons.

Posted by DeathtotheHawks from Chicago on 04/03/11 at 02:00 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

... damn right Holland’s going to support changes that benefit his team. THAT’S HIS FUCHING JOB. Moron.

That’s precisely the point I was going make.  Even if Brooks didn’t just have his panties in a twist, who cares?  Remind me again why Mr. Illitch signs his paycheck?

I’ve come to live with the idea that the NHL will never get rid of the lousy shootout.  Here’s my solution, there should be no extra point awarded in the standings for a shootout win.  Each team gets one.  Just use shootout victories for a tie breaker.  This way the teams that earn real wins aren’t don’t get drowned out of the playoffs by teams that skate by with shootout wins…  Looking at you ‘09 Coyotes.

Brooks article is nothing more than the weak ranting of a writer for one of the perennially worst managed teams in hockey.  Go play the world’s saddest song on the smallest violin pal.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/03/11 at 02:36 PM ET

Avatar

So Ken Holland simply declared this was the new rule ? The Other 29 GM’s had no say in the matter ? Which way did the great Glen Sather vote on this ?

Posted by mc keeper on 04/03/11 at 04:24 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

And right on cue the rangers get a .....wait for it…..a shootout victory.  LOL

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/03/11 at 04:42 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Yep, as usual, the theory from Brooks is that it’s one person’s fault, not 30.

And I would very genuinely prefer a 3-2-1 point system.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/03/11 at 04:44 PM ET

Avatar

Now, if the Rangers don’t make the tournament, it might be because they have won too many shootouts this year.

Win fewer shootouts and they don’t even reach the tiebreaker. It’s not rocket science.

Last year the Rangers lost out on points, this year they *might* lose out on the first tiebreaker. Does the expression ‘apples and oranges’ mean anything to you Larry?

Just for Brooks, I hope that the Rangers and Sabres end up tied in points as well as the first tiebreaker. Then he can start crying about the *second* tiebreaker (head-to-head points, which the Sabres hold). Or maybe we can save that for next year.

Posted by shep on 04/03/11 at 05:12 PM ET

Bradley97's avatar

Last summer we discussed the topic of extra points in depth on Mlive, and Duke (sorry friend, I cannot remember your full user name) suggested the most obvious and simplest solution: Get rid of the “magic” point.

Think about it, a team can go 10-0-72 and finish the season with 90 points. And if those 72 are OT and not shootout, Holland’s tie break does not work since total points come first. In a poor division where 90 points is the normal max (if that much) in a given season, this could be the third seed team.

Therefore, all loses should receive zero points, period. You lose, you lose.

Also, as part of this easy math solution, shootout wins would only be worth one point instead of two.

A simple modification to the standings would be:

W-SW-L=TP
2 - 1 - 0 = TP

Of course, this would make OT (in it’s current four-on-four format) worth the full 2 points, but since that’s also here to stay and it’s only the regular season, I have no issue with all team wins equal to the same full 2 points.

The reason Holland suggested wins without shootouts as the tie break was to add incentive for teams to finish the game before the final OT buzzer, hoping for fewer shootouts as a result. As the season winds down, there are likely a number of teams that will find they must win without going to shootout to secure their position in the playoffs.

I know there are some who do not agree that the current OT format should count fully even in this format, but it’s only five minutes. And OT might increase to ten minutes of four-on-four if General Managers like Holland who want fewer shootouts do not see results.

I too was a 3 point game fan until the above concept was proposed, and as it’s simpler (the 3 point game requires an extra column: W-OW-OL-L=P) and still rewards OL’s with a point, I’ve since supported the no points for any loss argument.

As for disclosing injuries, the league made disclosure required this past decade for a few years because Bettman is a Basketball guy and they do that there as well as in the other sports and so he caved into the media demands (Brooks, for one). Before that (back when Scotty was still coaching) all anyone got from the smart coaches was “groin.” Personally, I love that answer, and I loved how frustrated the media got when Bowman said it every time. Holland and others (I presume Burke included) wanted to return to those days to protect their players, so if an injury can be hidden well enough, even though the coach says “upper body” it might be the lower body and vice versa.

What’s wrong with not disclosing injuries? Why do we have do be in everyone else’s business all the time? Why do we have to know everything about everyone? It’s tough enough when a player’s injury is obvious, so when it’s not, it’s better for the game on the ice to keep things vague so the player can play through without being injury hunted. Watch Brooks make a 180 on the injury issue when it’s his team’s player with the known injury being blatantly targeted and taken out.

Posted by Bradley97 on 04/03/11 at 05:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

George pointed it all out quite nicely… but pretty much everything Brooks hammers Holland for is revisionist history.

And even if it weren’t, you’re damn right Holland’s going to support changes that benefit his team. THAT’S HIS FUCHING JOB. Moron.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/03/11 at 12:18 PM ET

+1.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 04/03/11 at 05:48 PM ET

Avatar

If we go to a 3-2-1 system (which I’d be happy with), I think it needs to be 3 for regulation wins only and 2 for OT/SO, rather than 3 points for regulation or OT win.

If teams know that they get 0 points for losing in overtime but are guaranteed at least 1 just for getting to the shootout, I imagine that overtimes will become increasingly defensive. The counterargument would be that teams would be motivated to get the three points rather than settle for one or two, but in practice I think most teams would choose to play more conservatively most of the time.

Incidentally, I also genuinely like the 2 points for a regulation/OT win, 1 point for a shootout win system. It doesn’t reward any kind of losing, and it devalues the shootout.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/03/11 at 05:57 PM ET

Avatar

When one loses creativity they turn to skepticism and criticism of others, w/o having anything worthy to contribute. Brooks is probably the most hard-headed journo in the sport, and he thinks he actually knows all (ask Tortorella what his impression of Brooks may be). Brooks probably gauges the East against the West by All-Star victories, not head-to-head nor Cups. Douche.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 04/03/11 at 11:05 PM ET

Avatar

Detroit always is about the good of the league, never its self-interest, going back to the time when the club chose to move to the West in order the ensure less challenging competition for a playoff berth.

The Campbell Conference was the weaker of the two, yeah, but it should be noted that having switched conferences in 1981, the Detroit Red Wings still sucked. Bottom of their division both before and after the switch. So if this was a a diabolical move to not suck quite so much… it failed. And as far as I remember, they certainly weren’t the only team to move that year. The Blackhawks moved as well, only they managed to overcome their usual early playoff exit by making it to the Conference finals shortly thereafter.

Looks like those Blackhawks should be ashamed of themselves. Improvement isn’t good for the league!

Posted by Ari_Twice from Norfolk, Virginia on 04/04/11 at 01:21 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

I thought the Rangers/Flyers ? shootout to decide who got in the playoffs on the last day of the season was a JOKE.

They didn’t play the shootout to decide the playoff spot. They played to decide the game, and that SO win had as much value as any other win for those last 6 months.

If that game had happened in January, would Brooks care?

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/04/11 at 08:38 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I will be the first to say Holland’s idea (which required 29 other minds to agree to for adoption) is not great. But Brooks fails to acknowledge that Ken Holland (and the other GMs) have essentially been trying to polish a turd.

3-2-1 is alright, and really probably the most fair, but I do agree with the sentiment that we need to minimize what the standings table looks like, not add columns to it. Furthermore, and I hate to sound like a dinosaur, there is something about changing to a 3-2-1 structure that blows out all historical perspective when comparing a team’s success to past years. I know I know, this is minor, but it’s not completely insignificant.

The idea proposed above about a 2-1-0 system, where the SW gets a point, is interesting. But the problem I have with this is that unlike the 3-2-1, now you’re punishing the team that lost in a skills competition. If two teams are equals for 65 minutes while playing the TEAM game as it was intended, it sucks to make one of them walk away empty handed just because the coin flip known as the shootout didn’t turn up right for them.

I’ve said it a million times and everyone hates it because sports fans are neurotic… but the most fair solution is to go back to the good old days. 2 points for a win, 1 for TIE, 0 for a loss. All the shootout does is provide an artificial resolution to a game to ease the psyche of the sports fan that cannot cope with the concept of not having a “winner.”

Ties would suck for basketball or baseball, and though rare, they do suck for football. But the difference is in the structure of the sport.

Statistically speaking, it’s very difficult for two basketball teams to be tied after regulation, and even more difficult for it to stay knotted after one overtime period. This is thanks to the variety of ways in which you can score points (a single “play” can theoretically be worth between 1 - 4 points).

In baseball, you don’t have the variation in scoring possibilities, but you do have a game where players can physically survive a marathon extra innings affair, even if it happens on a semi-regular basis. I love baseball, but the fact is, this is because in baseball, there’s a whole lot of sitting and standing around.

Only reason I say all that is because, please, don’t compare hockey to the sports without ties. Hockey NEEDS ties because hockey simply has physical demands that are more rigorous that those other sports, and a scoring system that makes it easier for ties to occur.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/04/11 at 11:47 AM ET

awould's avatar

The Rangers could have avoided losing a shootout to miss the playoffs last year if they’d won just one more game in the previous 82 games. Or, to make it simple, just win that game that night before it got to a shootout. Both teams had an equal shot. Also, the Flyers had a better record anyways, with more wins. So the better team won in the end. It would have been a bigger travesty of “justice” if the Rangers got in by winning that shootout.

Everyone acts like the league mandated that the Rangers and Flyers had to have a special shootout-only competition to decide their fate. The fact is, they did actually play a full game and OT. And 81 previous games. Each team had an abundance of opportunities to pull ahead and didn’t. At some point, flipping a coin is a fair way to decide it. Quit crying, losers.

Posted by awould on 04/04/11 at 01:06 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.