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3 point games in NHL


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I posted about this the other day in the Habs thread, and I'm sure everyone has an opinion. But a writer at the Toronto Star wrote an interesting piece today.

Rule stinks, but it's a blessing for Leafs

As the Maple Leafs make a belated rush toward the heady air of 10th place in their conference, or even higher, it likely is true that the dreaded three-point game is working against them by continually moving the target.

On the other hand, the fact that the NHL plays occasional three-point games – exactly 21.7 per cent of the time so far this season – is keeping the Leafs as close as they are to padding the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment bottom line with a playoff gate or two.

It's probably pointless to spend a couple of hours figuring this out, but the question was asked recently, by more than a few readers, what the NHL standings would look like if all games were two-point games, the shootout was dynamited and the tie, an entirely honourable result in its day, still existed. Your father's NHL, in other words.

It never made sense here that some games are worth three points and some are worth two and no one knows, going in, which is which. Previous mentions of that situation here always resulted in a fusillade of (usually) well-thought-out emails from those who can't stand the system as it exists. Various clever suggestions tend to arrive at the same finish line: all games should be worth the same, regardless of result. No argument here.

After crunching the numbers through Sunday's 994 games, counting all shootouts as ties, rather than wins or losses, and counting overtime defeats as losses, worth no points, a couple of things are clear: One is that the best teams are the best teams, no matter how you add it all up; two is that the races are tight by any counting method; and three is that Brian Burke, who generally has sensible solutions to small concerns often voiced about the league, probably would love to blow up the shootout when he sees what it might be costing him.

Burke's Anaheim Ducks own the No.1 draft choice of the Edmonton Oilers, who are 10 points clear of the worst record in the league by virtue of their ridiculous 14-3 mark in shootouts (and only 1-2 in overtime). If a loss was a loss and shootouts didn't exist, Edmonton would be one point ahead of Los Angeles (see accompanying chart) and Burke would be this close to Steve Stamkos by draft time.

The Maple Leafs, by virtue of earning 10 points in seven overtime and three shootout defeats, this morning stand six points behind Philadelphia, which has a game in hand, for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Without being rewarded for defeats or penalized for winning in overtime, the way everyone is, Toronto would be 10 points out of the playoffs. It also would be nine games under .500 (26-35-6), which is what it is today, with 29 wins in 67 games in a no-ties leagues.

Many who should know better suggest the Leafs are "above .500" with 68 points in those 67 games, but that ignores the NHL's new reality. With three-point games arriving more than one-fifth of the time and becoming slightly more frequent as the season lengthens, the .500 level for an 82-game season now works out to a hair below 91 points, rather than 82.

That's about what will be needed to reach the playoffs these days.

NHL WITHOUT THREE-POINT GAMES

EAST

W, L, T, Pts

Ottawa 34-25-7 75

New Jersey 33-26-7 73

Carolina 33-32-3 69

Montreal 32-25-9 73

Pittsburgh 30-26-11 71

Philadelphia 32-28-6 70

Buffalo 29-27-10 68

N.Y. Rangers 29-27-10 68

---

Boston 29-26-9 67

Washington 28-32-6 62

N.Y. Islanders 28-34-5 61

Toronto 26-35-6 58

Florida 24-34-10 58

Atlanta 21-32-14 56

Tampa Bay 24-38-3 51

WEST

W, L ,T, Pts

Detroit 38-19-10 86

Dallas 36-26-7 79

Min. 34-26-6 74

Anaheim 32-24-11 75

San Jose 32-24-9 73

Nashville 31-28-7 69

Calgary 31-29-6 68

Vancouver 26-24-15 67

---

Colorado 29-29-8 66

Phoenix 29-29-8 66

Columbus 27-30-10 64

Chicago 27-31-7 61

St. Louis 26-32-7 59

Edmonton 17-32-17 51

Los Angeles 22-39-6 50

Based on two points for each win, whether regulation or overtime, and zero points for any loss. No shootouts. A tie after the five-minute OT is a tie, with one point to each side.

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well, regardless of the standings, you'd have teams trying to win games outright rather than holding on for the shootout, which is totally frustrating to watch.

and the shootout is stupid.

they're playing within the established rules sure, but the established rules are dumb in this case.

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Id have to agree - I just find it interesting that the standings would be more or less the same.

I wonder if the shootout would be more exciting if they had more shooters right off the bat, ie 5 instead of 3?

Why they just didnt extend overtime to 10 minutes is something Ive never been able to figure out. Guarantee 7 of every 10 OT games would be decided in a winner.

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It's true teams may play for the shootout today but years ago they played for the tie. I like the shootout, it can be exciting at times.

I say make a regulation worth 2 points and a shootout win worth 1. You get nothing for a loss.

Or

3 points to win in regulation and 2 for a shootout win and 1 for an overtime loss.

I guess there are all kinds of models to use. As long as everyone is playing on the same surface and with the same rules it is cool to me.

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