With NHL Realignment Done, It’s Time To Fix A Bigger Problem

Posted by on December 7, 2011

Originally posted at My Devil(ish) Thoughts.

With the NHL board of governors approving a realignment for next season, it’s time to address a bigger issue that I feel should be changed: The Points System.

Fans seem to be split 50/50 on the new realignment, but I like it. Sure, the Lightning and the Panthers are in a conference where all the other teams are north of Boston, but whatever. It’s too warm there for hockey anyway, so make them go to some of the coldest places. That’ll learn ‘em.

Here are the new conferences:

Conference A: LA, ANA, SJ, VAN, CGY, EDM, COL, PHX.
Conference B: DET, CHI, STL, MIN, WPG, NSH, CBJ, DAL.
Conference C: MTL, TOR, OTT, BOS, BUF, TB, FLA.
Conference D: NJ, PHI, PIT, NYI, NYR, WSH, CAR.

Anyway, the new realignment keeps most current rivalries and creates or expands a few other ones. I am really looking forward to that Winnipeg – Columbus rivalry. And when Phoenix moves to Quebec and is added to Conference C, there will be five Canadian teams (let’s face it, Buffalo is a Canadian city), two Florida teams and Boston.

It also cuts down on travel, which cuts down on travel costs for the teams. It should also create extra revenue with the added rivalries. That, in turn, should mean cheaper ticket prices for fans, right? Maybe not…

Each team will play a against every other team in the league, once at home and once on the road.

Now that the realignment is out of the way, I feel something much more important needs to be fixed.

The points system in the NHL is, for lack of a better description, dumb!

A 10-0 domination of your opponent counts the same in the standings as a game where you struggle throughout, get lucky enough to force a skills competition, and your 5th defenseman beats the opposing goalie in the 12th round of a shootout where he had saved everything else.

It just doesn’t seem right.

There is no incentive to actually win a game. If you’re tied with time winding down, you’re better off skating around and regrouping for OT. Same goes for OT…why tire yourself out when you can show off your mad skillz in a one-on-one showdown in the shootout?

So here is my idea for the new points system.

Regulation Win: 3 points
Overtime / Shootout Win: 2 points
Shootout: Both teams get 1 point

This would give teams that win in regulation an advantage… an advantage they deserve. There is absolutely no reason a team that wins in regulation should be awarded the same amount of points that a team that wins in a shootout gets.

There is also no reason a team that beats their opponent in 60 minutes should get the same amount of points that a team that takes 64 minutes to beat their opponent gets.

Some will argue that “a win is a win”, but if you need extra time or a skills competition to beat your opponent, there’s no reason that win should be weighed the same as a win where you dominate your opponent.

Under the current system, you can be 10-0 with all 10 wins coming in regulation and have the same amount of points as a team that is 10-0 with all of their wins in the shootout, wins that don’t count as playoff tiebreakers anymore…therefore making them 0-0 in that tiebreaker.

If shootout wins don’t count in the tiebreaker, basically making those games meaningless, why should they be awarded the same amount of points as a regulation win? It just doesn’t make sense.

Here are the current standings with my point system total and the difference from current point total at the end in parentheses:

Pittsburgh – 16 – 8 – 4 36 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 1 SO: 3-2 (46 pts +10)
NY Rangers – 15 – 6 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 2 SO: 1-2 (44 pts +11)
Philadelphia – 15 – 7 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 13 OTW: 2 SO: 0-1 (44 pts +11)
New Jersey – 13 – 12 – 1 27 pts…..RW: 6 OTW: 2 SO: 5-1 (33 pts +6)
NY Islanders – 9 – 11 – 5 23 pts…..RW: 9 OTW: 0 SO: 0-2 (29 pts +6)

Boston – 17 – 8 – 1 35 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 0 SO: 3-1 (49 pts +14)
Toronto – 15 – 10 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 1 SO: 3-1 (42 pts +9)
Buffalo – 14 – 11 – 1 29 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 1 SO: 2-1 (40 pts +11)
Ottawa – 13 – 11 – 3 29 pts…..RW: 10 OTW: 0 SO: 3-1 (37 pts +8)
Montréal – 11 – 11 – 6 28 pts…..RW: 8 OTW: 2 SO: 1-4 (33 pts +5)

Florida – 15 – 8 – 4 34 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 0 SO: 1-3 (47 pts +13)
Winnipeg – 12 – 11 – 4 28 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 0 SO: 1-1 (36 pts +8)
Washington – 13 – 12 – 1 27 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 5 SO: 1-1 (34 pts +7)
Tampa Bay – 11 – 14 – 2 24 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 3 SO: 1-2 (31 pts +7)
Carolina – 8 – 17 – 4 20 pts…..RW: 8 OTW: 0 SO: 0-2 (26 pts +6)

Chicago – 16 – 8 – 4 36 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 1 SO: 3-3 (47 pts +11)
Detroit – 16 – 9 – 1 33 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 1 SO: 1-0 (46 pts +13)
St Louis – 15 – 9 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 13 OTW: 2 SO: 0-3 (46 pts +11)
Nashville – 12 – 11 – 4 28 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 1 SO: 0-1 (36 pts +8)
Columbus – 8 – 16 – 3 19 pts…..RW: 5 OTW: 1 SO: 2-3 (24 pts +5)

Minnesota – 18 – 7 – 3 39 pts…..RW: 13 OTW: 1 SO: 4-1 (50 pts +11)
Vancouver – 16 – 10 – 1 33 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 2 SO: 0-1 (47 pts +14)
Edmonton – 13 – 11 – 3 29 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 0 SO: 1-3 (41 pts +12)
Colorado – 13 – 14 – 1 27 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 2 SO: 4-0 (33 pts +6)
Calgary – 12 – 13 – 2 26 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 0 SO: 0-1 (37 pts +11)

Phoenix – 15 – 9 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 1 SO: 2-2 (44 pts +11)
Dallas – 15 – 10 – 1 31 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 2 SO: 2-1 (42 pts +11)
Los Angeles – 13 – 10 – 4 30 pts…..RW: 10 OTW: 2 SO: 1-2 (38 pts +8)
San Jose – 14 – 9 – 1 29 pts…..RW: 10 OTW: 1 SO: 3-0 (38 pts +9)
Anaheim – 8 – 14 – 5 21 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 0 SO: 1-3 (25 pts +4)

As you can see, the only teams that would change their current position in the standings are Colorado and Calgary. Calgary, with all of their 12 wins coming in regulation time, is currently a point behind Colorado, which has only seven regulation wins. The Avs two overtime and four shootout “wins” means they have an extra W in the win column over the Flames… which doesn’t make much sense to me.

Here is what the standings would like like with the new point system with the new conference alignment:

Pittsburgh – 16 – 8 – 4 36 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 1 SO: 3-2 (46 pts +10)
NY Rangers – 15 – 6 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 2 SO: 1-2 (44 pts +11)
Philadelphia – 15 – 7 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 13 OTW: 2 SO: 0-1 (44 pts +11)
Washington – 13 – 12 – 1 27 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 5 SO: 1-1 (34 pts +7)
New Jersey – 13 – 12 – 1 27 pts…..RW: 6 OTW: 2 SO: 5-1 (33 pts +6)
NY Islanders – 9 – 11 – 5 23 pts…..RW: 9 OTW: 0 SO: 0-2 (29 pts +6)
Carolina – 8 – 17 – 4 20 pts…..RW: 8 OTW: 0 SO: 0-2 (26 pts +6)

Boston – 17 – 8 – 1 35 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 0 SO: 3-1 (49 pts +14)
Florida – 15 – 8 – 4 34 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 0 SO: 1-3 (47 pts +13)
Toronto – 15 – 10 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 1 SO: 3-1 (42 pts +9)
Buffalo – 14 – 11 – 1 29 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 1 SO: 2-1 (40 pts +11)
Ottawa – 13 – 11 – 3 29 pts…..RW: 10 OTW: 0 SO: 3-1 (37 pts +8)
Montréal – 11 – 11 – 6 28 pts…..RW: 8 OTW: 2 SO: 1-4 (33 pts +5)
Tampa Bay – 11 – 14 – 2 24 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 3 SO: 1-2 (31 pts +7)

Minnesota – 18 – 7 – 3 39 pts…..RW: 13 OTW: 1 SO: 4-1 (50 pts +11)
Chicago – 16 – 8 – 4 36 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 1 SO: 3-3 (47 pts +11)
Detroit – 16 – 9 – 1 33 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 1 SO: 1-0 (46 pts +13)
St Louis – 15 – 9 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 13 OTW: 2 SO: 0-3 (46 pts +11)
Dallas – 15 – 10 – 1 31 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 2 SO: 2-1 (42 pts +11)
Nashville – 12 – 11 – 4 28 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 1 SO: 0-1 (36 pts +8)
Winnipeg – 12 – 11 – 4 28 pts…..RW: 11 OTW: 0 SO: 1-1 (36 pts +8)
Columbus – 8 – 16 – 3 19 pts…..RW: 5 OTW: 1 SO: 2-3 (24 pts +5)

Vancouver – 16 – 10 – 1 33 pts…..RW: 14 OTW: 2 SO: 0-1 (47 pts +14)
Phoenix – 15 – 9 – 3 33 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 1 SO: 2-2 (44 pts +11)
Edmonton – 13 – 11 – 3 29 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 0 SO: 1-3 (41 pts +12)
Los Angeles – 13 – 10 – 4 30 pts…..RW: 10 OTW: 2 SO: 1-2 (38 pts +8)
San Jose – 14 – 9 – 1 29 pts…..RW: 10 OTW: 1 SO: 3-0 (38 pts +9)
Calgary – 12 – 13 – 2 26 pts…..RW: 12 OTW: 0 SO: 0-1 (37 pts +11)
Colorado – 13 – 14 – 1 27 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 2 SO: 4-0 (33 pts +6)
Anaheim – 8 – 14 – 5 21 pts…..RW: 7 OTW: 0 SO: 1-3 (25 pts +4)

Some might argue that this point system would leave a lot of teams on the outside of the playoff picture much sooner. However, with three points for a win, it would actually make the playoff race even tighter!

Under the current point system, the biggest lead in any division is 23 points (Chicago over Columbus). It would take a +12 wins difference compared to Chicago for Columbus to make up those points.

Under the new points system and realignment, the biggest difference would be 26 points (Minnesota over Columbus) in any conference. However, it would take only nine wins to make up that point difference under the revamped point system. Under the current points system, it would take a +13 win differential to catch up to the Wild.

In the case of a tie in points, the shootout wins wouldn’t count for playoff positioning, just like it is now.

This would still allow an overtime or shootout “win” to mean something during the season (while still giving teams that win in regulation an advantage), but the shootout points, which should mean less than the regulation points anyway, would not come into play when figuring playoff positions. The regulation wins and points, and to a lesser extent the OT wins, would take precedent.

Now that the NHL is making drastic changes, I think it’s time to correct the points system and reward teams that work hard during the first 60 minutes and get themselves a win in regulation.

What do you think?


Last modified on December 7, 2011

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