Apr 092007
 

I am one (of many I believe) of the people who totally despise the current point scheme where some games are worth 3 points and other games are worth 2 points. I also despise the fact that an individual skills competition (aka the shootout) is used to determine winners of games and which teams make or miss the playoffs or their relative playoff seeding. So lets take a look at, and evaluate, the various point systems that the NHL could used.

1. The current scheme.
2. The traditional scheme where a win gets you 2 points, a loss zero points and a tie 1 point with no shootouts.
3. The 3 point system where all games are worth 3 points. A regulation win gets you 3 points and a regulation loss zero points. An overtime or shootout win would get you 2 points and an overtime or shootout loss would get you a single point.

The tables below show how the standings would look under each system. I have also included regulation win % which is a teams winning percentage in games that ended in regulation as well as my power rank from my power ranking scheme.

(Note: These are the standings, not the playoff seedings where the division winners get ranked 1,2 and 3).

Rank Team Points Team Trad.Pts Team 3Pts/G Team Reg.Win% Team Power Rank
1 Buffalo 113 Buffalo 100 Buffalo 151 Ottawa 0.638 Buffalo 0.583
2 New Jersey 107 Ottawa 100 Ottawa 149 Buffalo 0.633 Ottawa 0.580
3 Ottawa 105 New Jersey 96 New Jersey 143 New Jersey 0.600 New Jersey 0.532
4 Pittsburgh 105 Pittsburgh 90 Pittsburgh 136 Pittsburgh 0.564 Montreal 0.501
5 Atlanta 97 Carolina 85 Atlanta 127 Atlanta 0.517 Pittsburgh 0.501
6 NY Rangers 94 Atlanta 84 Montreal 124 Toronto 0.508 Toronto 0.496
7 Tampa Bay 93 Toronto 83 NY Rangers 124 Montreal 0.500 Carolina 0.488
8 NY Islanders 92 Montreal 83 Toronto 123 NY Rangers 0.500 Atlanta 0.480
9 Toronto 91 NY Rangers 80 Carolina 122 Carolina 0.500 Tampa Bay 0.460
10 Montreal 90 Tampa Bay 80 Tampa Bay 122 NY Islanders 0.500 NY Rangers 0.457
11 Carolina 88 NY Islanders 77 NY Islanders 122 Florida 0.492 Florida 0.444
12 Florida 86 Florida 76 Florida 116 Tampa Bay 0.468 NY Islanders 0.444
13 Boston 76 Washington 66 Boston 98 Washington 0.365 Boston 0.410
14 Washington 70 Boston 65 Washington 93 Boston 0.349 Washington 0.390
15 Philadelphia 56 Philadelphia 49 Philadelphia 74 Philadelphia 0.273 Philadelphia 0.299

The above table should tell you everything that is wrong about the current point scheme. The current point scheme has Tampa and the Islanders making the playoffs while no other scheme has them in the playoffs. The current point scheme has the Leafs and Canadiens missing the playoffs while no other point scheme has them missing. Additionally, 4 of the 5 methods have New Jersey the 3rd best team, except the one the NHL uses which has them second best. Something just seems wrong when 4 of 5 systems agree but the NHL uses the one that doesn’t. If fairness and having the best 8 teams making the playoffs is what the NHL is looking for, the current system does not produce that.

As for close playoff races (the NHL’s supposed reason for wanting to keep the current method), well, all of the methods would have resulted in very tight playoff races. In fact the 3 point game method had 6 teams ranked 6 through 11 with between 122 and 124 points. Can’t get much closer than that.

Western Conference

Rank Team Points Team Trad.Pts Team 3Pts/G Team Reg.Win% Team Power Rank
1 Detroit 113 Detroit 106 Detroit 158 Detroit 0.703 Detroit 0.640
2 Anaheim 110 Anaheim 102 San Jose 155 Anaheim 0.661 San Jose 0.622
3 Nashville 110 San Jose 102 Nashville 152 San Jose 0.649 Vancouver 0.621
4 San Jose 107 Nashville 101 Anaheim 149 Nashville 0.646 Nashville 0.619
5 Dallas 107 Vancouver 97 Dallas 142 Dallas 0.583 Anaheim 0.616
6 Vancouver 105 Dallas 95 Vancouver 137 Calgary 0.567 Minnesota 0.598
7 Minnesota 104 Minnesota 93 Minnesota 135 Vancouver 0.552 Dallas 0.584
8 Calgary 96 Calgary 88 Calgary 134 Minnesota 0.544 Calgary 0.568
9 Colorado 95 Colorado 87 Colorado 131 Colorado 0.537 Colorado 0.564
10 St. Louis 81 St. Louis 68 St. Louis 105 St. Louis 0.407 St. Louis 0.448
11 Columbus 73 Columbus 66 Edmonton 99 Edmonton 0.394 Edmonton 0.437
12 Edmonton 71 Edmonton 64 Columbus 97 Columbus 0.364 Columbus 0.433
13 Chicago 71 Chicago 63 Chicago 93 Chicago 0.344 Chicago 0.416
14 Los Angeles 68 Phoenix 59 Phoenix 91 Phoenix 0.343 Phoenix 0.394
15 Phoenix 67 Los Angeles 56 Los Angeles 89 Los Angeles 0.339 Los Angeles 0.376

The western conference playoff race was pretty much non-existant except for a late season surge by the Avalanche so the end result is that all methods of evaluation have the same 8 teams making the playoffs and all point systems show the same significant drop off between 9th place Colorado and 10th place St. Louis. Overall there is much more consistency between schemes in the west than the east.

  43 Responses to “Evaluating the various point schemes”

  1.  

    If you are going to include the “all games have 3 points”, then you need also need to include the “2 points for a win and 0 points for any kind of loss” scenario. This gets talked about as much as all games being worth 3 points. You will see the leafs missing out by a couple of games, the Habs making it in and TB placing ahead of ATL.

  2.  

    sing it!

  3.  

    I could include the 2 points for a win scenario, nothing for any kind of loss, but that one is easy. Just sort the NHL standings by wins. And, it is even worse than the current system because it gives the skills competition even more weight in the standings. That horrible team in Tampa which can’t win more games than it loses in 5 on 5 hockey would be ranked a rediculous 5th under that system.

  4.  

    I know you just need to look at the wins. Adding them to your chart would simply make it more complete even though it takes a bit of lipstick off the blue pig.

    In the 3 points per game, the diff of 2 points between 6 and 11 is for all intents and purposes the same as the current system. The games would have been played differently with 3 points available. But if having the leafs make it in under this scenario makes you feel better, who am I to argue.

    I’m not a big fan of the skills competition either but AFAIC ties suck, plain and simple. If we need to have SO’s, getting 0 points for gagging on SO’s might make teams a pay more attention to them. I would like to see it start out with 5 shooters as they do in the Olympics.

  5.  

    I don’t understand what the problem with ties are and having ties is certainly better than harming the integrity of the game by turning a team game into a skills competition.

    The playoffs are the highlight of any professional sport. The playoffs are what truly sells hockey and the playoffs are a major part of generating TV revenue. It should be the goal of the NHL to have the best teams make the playoffs. That isn’t happening under the current system. The current system has a team (Tampa) which is 29-33 when playing playoff hockey (5 on 5) in the playoffs but a team (Toronto) which is 32-31 when playing playoff style hockey out of the playoffs.

    I guess my view of hockey is that it is a competition above and beyond it being a form of entertainment and in no way should we hurt the integrity and fairness of the competition purely for the purposes of entertainment.

    Besides, I claim that the shootout is not entertaining, only the angst of wondering if you team is going to win or lose keeps people interested. You could have 3 players from each team play rock-paper-scissors and people will probably have the same edge of their seat angst. If the shootout didn’t count in the standings do you think people would act the same way? Not likely and I suspect half the crowd will leave not watching or caring at all.

  6.  

    It appears your real beef is a crappy Tampa team made it instead of a crappy leafs team.

    If so, I would think you would be better off railing against basing playoff spots on the conference but basing the schedule on the division.

    Or like most fans rail against your team for not winning more games instead of making excuses for a mediocre team dominated by highly-paid underacheivers.

  7.  

    No, my beef is about fairness and integrity of the sport. But yes, Toronto is a better team than Tampa. So probably is Montreal and maybe Carolina.

    My beef is that the NHL hasn’t a clue of how to market and sell the game of hockey and instead turns to gimmicks and silly point schemes. I feel the proper way to sell the sport is not through gimmickry, but by selling the intensity and passion of the sport that I will argue no other sport can offer and maintaining the integrity and fairness of the game. That is how you build long term hockey fans.

    Besides, Ottawa gets hurt by the silly point scheme too. Ottawa would have been neck and neck with Buffalo under any of the other metrics and would have had a shot at top spot right down to the end of the season. Instead of playing a tough Pittsburgh team in the first round you could had an opportunity to play a much easier team in the first round.

  8.  

    Ok…Toronto is nowhere’s near as “crappy” as the media wants people to believe. They’re mainly where they ended up because of bad goaltending.

    A few problems with the extra frames in the regular season, check out the SO records of the following teams (and League Rank) and tell me the Shoot Out has ANY relevance:

    2nd Detroit: 2-8
    4th Anaheim: 4-10
    9th Ottawa: 2-6
    13th Calgary: 3-5
    18th Toronto: 4-7
    20th Carolina: 0-5
    21st Florida: 2-8
    23rd Boston: 9-4
    24th Columbus: 5-5
    25th Chicago: 6-7
    27th Washington: 1-11
    29th Phoenix: 5-2
    30th Philadelphia: 1-6

    Ok… so if we’re to rank these teams based on the skill competition that is the Shoot Out we’d end up with the following order: Boston, Phoenix, Columbus, Chicago, Calgary, Toronto, Anaheim, Ottawa, Florida, Detroit, Philly, Washington, Carolina. Ok yeah THAT makes TONNES of sense. Obviously Boston, Phoenix, Columbus, Chicago AND those “crappy” Leafs are superior to Anaheim, Ottawa, and Detroit. The Shoot Out is idiotic and it needs to be junked.

  9.  

    I have the perfect solution:

    The winning team gets 2 POINTS for a Regulation WIN and 1 POINT for an Extra Time WIN (OT/SO) and NO POINTS are awarded to the losing team.

    This would put the emphasis on the 60 minute game and end this ‘playing for the point’ style that is so prevalent these days. It also keeps the odd/even-1 point/2 point standings dynamic that is what sets the NHL apart from the other North American major sports who tabulate their standings with a win percentage.

    I don’t know why no one has even mentioned this format in hockey circles but it would be best for the game.

    I, also, abhor the shootout and would rather they play 4-on-4 in OT until there is a winner.

  10.  

    That would probably be better but ultimately I believe that all games should be worth the same number of points. That is why I would accept the 3 point system if the NHL insists on keeping the shootout. At least then a shootout win won’t be worth the same as a 6-1 regulation win.

    But if I had a choice I would go back to the 2 point game with no points for OT loss, drop the shootout, allow ties, but extend overtime to 10 minutes to reduce the number of ties.

  11.  

    Your point about the Senators seems to be lost to most. The Sabres needed extra time to earn a win so often, their point total is misleading. Three of their first four wins went to the shoot-out. And when they lost to Atlanta, that was in the shoot-out.

    Great illustration of comparing the current system as the odd fellow against the more logical point schemes.

  12.  

    The point about the Sens is not lost but all this is little more than coulda, shoulda, woulda. I’m sure BUF would have preferred to win in reg time. The points system is what it is, it’s the same for everyone and the teams deal with it accordingly.

    I’ll agree with Pete on a 4 on 4 OT until a winner would be far better than an SO and I suspect given the tempo of 4 on 4, most OTs would end within 10 mins.

    That said, I’ll debate 4 on 4 is “more pure” and preserves “integrity”. Yes it looks more like a hockey game should but it is often little more than a game of shinny between the top 4-6 players on each team.

  13.  

    The points system is what it is, it’s the same for everyone and the teams deal with it accordingly.

    Yes, definitely, but that still does not make it fair. Should a team which ins in a shoot out skills competition get the same credit as a team that wins 6-1 in regulation? I think not. Does a team that loses 4-3 30 seconds into OT deserve more credit than a team that loses with 30 seconds left in regulation? I think not.

    As for the pruity and integrity of 4 on 4 hockey, I agree somewhat, but it can also be argued that 4 on 4 hockey occurs relatively often in regulation play and is more of a part of the game than penalty shots which only seem to happen once in a blue moon and only when a player earned a breakaway (but had it taken away) under normal hockey conditions.

  14.  

    that still does not make it fair.

    I would not be fair if they changed the rules mid-season. It may be stupid and quirky but it is 100% fair when everyone knows the rules going in.

    4 on 4 hockey was added back into the game just recently. Yes it does happen regularly enough in reg time but it is only for a few minutes in the context of a larger time period where numerous outcomes can still take place. And it does not carry the same urgency as an OT unless it’s late in a game.

    On many levels, the 4-on-4 OT is every bit the gimmick the SO is.

  15.  

    4 on 4 was NOT “added back into the game just recently,” it never left. If one team lost a player to a penalty, and then the team on the power play lost one of their players to a penalty you were left with, VOILA, 4 on 4 hockey. That was never removed from the game.

    I assume you’re referring to the issue surrounding offsetting minor penalties, in which both teams were left 5 on 5 despite the fact they had men sent off. That rule has been reformatted, to my knowledge.

    According to rule 19 of the NHL rulebook regarding Coincidental Minors: ”When one minor penalty is assessed to one player…of each team at the same stoppage in play, these penalties will be served without substitution provided there are no other penalties in effect… Both teams will therefore be

  16.  

    “Both teams will therefore play 4 skaters against 4 skaters for the duration of the minor penalties .”

    Basically the only difference with coincidental penalties now is both players have to stay in the box until the next stoppage in play.

  17.  

    Either way, 4 on 4 is a part of an actual NHL hockey game, and has been for a long long time. Shoot Outs are a novelty that were added to “decide” games of extended duration, due to time considerations, and “excitement” value. the IIHF wanted a way to tie up meaningful games without them having to take forever to finish, and football presented them with a viable option in shoot outs. The fact that the NHL tossed them in even though ties were already accounted for is a bit strange, since the only place Soccer or the IIHF ever used shootouts was in games where a winner was REQUIRED for the purposes of advancement in a playoff setting. The NHL doesn’t actually use shootouts in the playoffs which indicates how useless and unviable NHL’ers see them as when it comes to deciding a game.

  18.  

    Yes I meant coincidental minors. No need to shout.

  19.  

    Don’t mistake me as someone who likes shootouts. I would just as soon do without them.

    A 5 minute, 4 on 4 OT is a gimmick that didn’t work. An unlimited 4 on 4 OT would be less gimmicky but it is still not the way the game is normally played.

    If you like ties, then so be it. I find ties to be a complete waste of time, much like soccer and the IIHF.

  20.  

    I capitalised 2 words… and if you’re going to complain about shouting you should perhaps examine your inclination to be insulting to various hockey franchises… no need for that either.

    Either way, pretend the OT is a 5 minute coincidental penalty if it takes the sting out.

    Ties aren’t a waste of time… they’re just a result. If the teams are on equal footing then they both deserve a decent result. Winning isn’t a requirement.

  21.  

    if you’re going to complain about shouting

    I didn’t complain. I just said there was no need to shout.

    perhaps examine your inclination to be insulting to various hockey franchises

    I examined it and decided against it.

    Either way, pretend the OT is a 5 minute coincidental penalty if it takes the sting out.

    Uhhh…..sure…..OK…..

    Winning isn’t a requirement.

    Let’s give everyone “Thanks For Participating” buttons and go for milkshakes after the game.

  22.  

    Of course a sens fan hates milkshakes. You probably kick kittens in your spare time.

    I was discussing this issue with a buddy yesterday and one of the things that bothered us was that the NHL is willing to implement the shootout (a huge gimmick) but then says that moving to 3-points for a regulation win would devalue the record book.

    3 points for a win is not a complete panacea as can be seen in soccer where road teams try to play for the draw but that change combined with a 10 minute 4 on 4 OT would make the standings more reflective of a team’s abilities.

  23.  

    How does a hard fought tie equate to only “participation” in your mind?

    If two boxers show up for a fight, the only way they earn a draw is by lasting in the ring for every round. Assuming that every contest that ends in a tie is a situation where people show up but don’t actually undertake the effort required to win is pretty simplistic of you.

    The whole reason they have to use 7 or 5 game playoff series in pro sports is because if there was an even number of games you would often get a TIE. Obviously you can only let 1 team on to the next round though, so a tie-breaker is required. In a regular season match up, tie breaking is NOT a requirement, especially since teams could very easily (and often do) end up with the same number of wins at the end of the season anyway. The idea that you’re differentiating team hockey skill by ensuring a winner through a shoot out is silly.

    In conclusion, reducing this to the absurd as you so obviously wish to do, is wonderfully useless. There are obvious flaws with the current system. While I understand its unlikely to be changed anytime soon, there is a rationale behind the statement that ties are a reasonable outcome after a 60 minute regular season game. If the difference in points for a tie and a win were spread enough (i.e. 3 for a win, 1 for a tie as in pro soccer) then the issue around teams tying a lot of games and still making the playoffs would vanish. It’s not complicated and there’s “no need” for you to be overly sarcastic.

    P.S. Get Bent.

  24.  

    I’m happy to call this debate a tie, if you’d like to get a milkshake later feel free to let me know. :)

  25.  

    A 3 point system would ruin hockey. David, as one who advicated the integrity of the game, you should see this.

    Stronger teams who jump out to early leads will play shut down “playoff style” hockey as much as they can. This would bring back the dreaded “trap style” hockey we saw almost a decade ago. Thats not hockey in my view, its more like soccer. As to entertainment, it would be extremely bad for revenues in the regular season.

    If the NHL doesnt want to confuse fans, keep the system that is in play right now and promote it. A 3 point game system like the European soccer leagues use would simply not be good for the “integrity” of the game. This is hockey, not soccer.

    As for Toronto being a better team than Tampa Bay, you are incorrect. The 82 game schedule is played to see which teams have the most points. Not which teams played better in regulation. That team would be Tampa Bay, not Toronto…nor Montreal or even Carolina.

  26.  

    A 3 point system would ruin hockey. David, as one who advicated the integrity of the game, you should see this.

    Please expand. In what way would it ruin the integrity of the game more than the current system.

    Stronger teams who jump out to early leads will play shut down “playoff style” hockey as much as they can. This would bring back the dreaded “trap style” hockey we saw almost a decade ago.

    If a team would do this under a 3 point system, why wouldn’t they do this now? The advantage of a 3 point system over the current system is that teams won’t sit back in a tied game with 5 minutes left in order to secure the point, and then play and then play for the extra point in OT or the SO. There will be an incentive to win in regulation rather than OT.

    If the NHL doesnt want to confuse fans, keep the system that is in play right now and promote it.

    As for Toronto being a better team than Tampa Bay, you are incorrect. The 82 game schedule is played to see which teams have the most points.

    I will grant you that maybe Tampa is better at gathering points in the regular season, but they are not better at playing hockey as it is played in the playoffs. The evidence to back up this claim is immense be it regulation or OT records or head to head play or a mathematical ranking algorithm such as my power rankings, or any number of other point schemes that don’t give as much emphasis on skills competitions which I think can be clearly proven not to be highly correlated with a teams ability to play hockey.

  27.  

    I will grant you that maybe Tampa is better at gathering points in the regular season, but they are not better at playing hockey as it is played in the playoffs.

    DJ, you have a wicked sense of humor…..

    Tampa will never win a Stanley Cup playing the way they do and the leafs would win them in bunches if it wasn’t for that pesky regular season…..

  28.  

    You really are clueless aren’t you.

  29.  

    You really are clueless aren’t you.

    Whatever. Keep up whatever it is you think you are doing. “Analysis” comes in all shapes and sizes.

    I will grant you that maybe Tampa is better at gathering points in the regular season, but they are not better at playing hockey as it is played in the playoffs.

    That is still one of the funniest things I have ever read. It’s even funnier that you defend it by calling me clueless.

  30.  

    Well, if you cannot figure out that in the playoffs the NHL plays normal, 5 on 5 hockey and in the regular season Tampa had a pretty bad record in games ending in regulation (you know, when they play the same 5 on 5 hockey that they do in the playoffs) then yes, you are clueless.

    The fact that Tampa was good in shootouts this year will mean squat in the playoffs. Dallas was good in shootouts this year. Did it help them at all last night?

  31.  

    Well, if you cannot figure out that in the playoffs the NHL plays normal, 5 on 5 hockey and in the regular season Tampa had a pretty bad record in games ending in regulation (you know, when they play the same 5 on 5 hockey that they do in the playoffs) then yes, you are clueless.

    The fact remains that “5 on 5 play until there is a winner” is not a condition that takes place in regular season play. Nor is the added playoff constraint of a short series, winner take all.

    An after the fact, straight extrapolation of points based on a completely different set of conditions is entirely meaningless except to maybe make your favorite team look better by showing the right ones. Perhaps it is the initial premise that could use a few more “clues”.

    Furthermore, in worst case TB is only 3 points worse than the leafs in the “traditional” scenario and only one point worse in the “3 pts for every game”. These are not significant differences even for a straight extrapolation under different conditions.

    The fact that Tampa was good in shootouts this year will mean squat in the playoffs. Dallas was good in shootouts this year. Did it help them at all last night?

    It didn’t help DAL at all. And ut won’t help PIT. And it won’t help TB. And it is entirely irrelevant in the playoffs because the parameters of the game are different now (which is in a way too bad and I agree with others here that it would be nice to see the reg season be “closer” to the playoffs and the 10 min 4 on 4 OT would be good start). No one here that I know of has ever argued that being good in SO’s and 4 on 4 OT’s would translate to the playoffs so that is a moot point.

    To infer Tampa is “less deserving” of their playoff spot than the leafs simply because they did what needed to be done in the context of the entire regular season in order to qualify for the playoffs is nothing short of asinine and smacks of bitter fan.

  32.  

    It didn’t help DAL at all. And ut won’t help PIT. And it won’t help TB. And it is entirely irrelevant in the playoffs because the parameters of the game are different now

    Exactly my point. And under these conditions, Tampa is 4 games under .500 and Toronto is one game above .500. Add to the fact that Toronto plays a tougher schedule it is clear to me that Toronto is a measurably, if not significantly, better team when it comes to playing hockey according to playoff rules. For that matter so is the NY Islanders, (.500 in regulation), Carolina (.500 in regulation), Montreal (.500 in regulation), and Florida (one game below .500).

    To infer Tampa is “less deserving” of their playoff spot

    To be perfectly clear, I am not infering that they are less deserving of their playoff spot because clearly, they had better results under the rules of the regular season.

    What I am saying, and read carefully now as it seems to be a difficult concept for you, is that the Leafs are a better *hockey* *team* than the Lightning. Key words being hockey and team. They may not be better at the gimmickry that the NHL employs in the regular season but they are better at playing under standard NHL playoff hockey rules.

    Now, if you can accept that, my next argument would be that the NHL playoffs would be more competitive and entertaining if the best *hockey* *teams* made the playoffs. Again, hockey and teams being the key words.

  33.  

    To infer Tampa is “less deserving” of their playoff spot than the leafs simply because they did what needed to be done in the context of the entire regular season in order to qualify for the playoffs is nothing short of asinine and smacks of bitter fan.

    Nobody is inferring that Tampa is “less deserving” of their playoff spot “simply because they did what needed to be done in the context of the regular season in order to qualify of the playoffs”.

    What people are inferring is that Tampa Bay is less competitive in the actual context of what one normally considers *HOCKEY*. Given the fact that they are a sub .500 franchise in such situations, one could easily insinuate they are less than likely to actually have a competitive chance at making the finals, let alone winning the Cup. Considering the Leafs, Montreal, Carolina and Florida all had better *hockey* records, one could argue all of them would be a superior “playoff” team. Admittedly none of them MADE the playoffs, but that hinges on the current system involving shootouts, and not their actual *HOCKEY* abilities, which is a shame.

    Somehow I fail to see anything asinine in that point. Basically Tampa Bay is a better “regular season” team than the Leafs because of their Shoot Out prowess. The fact that a major component of the ranking system used during the regular season doesn’t mean much when it comes to handing out the trophy at the end of the year is what strikes me as asinine. It’d be like giving NBA teams bonus points in the standings for having more plays on the highlight reels of Sports Center… and then handing out the NBA championship based on who actually wins the most games. Obviously highlight reel dunks and passes are exciting, but they don’t ensure that a team will be more capable of actually playing basketball when it counts. That’s why street ball players tend to not perform so well in the NBA… but I bet you have no use for basketball, just like you have no use for soccer, or milkshakes… which I guess means you won’t consider the point relevant… anyway… who wants to flog the dead horse next?

  34.  

    I read what you write DJ. It’s why I’m write back.

    Exactly my point. And under these conditions, Tampa is 4 games under .500 and Toronto is one game above .500.

    I’m not arguing the numbers DJ. I’m arguing your application of the numbers. Your case to convince me based on a incomplete set of after the fact, coulda, shoulda, woulda extrapolations based on events that may or may not happen isn’t working.

    FWIW, the leafs may very well be a better *hockey* *team* than TB but I would submit it’s picking fly shit out of pepper. They are both middle of the pack teams. However, AFAIC the fact that core of TB who played a major role in getting a recent Stanley Cup ring still remain with the team gives TB far more playoff credibility than this latest edition of a leaf *hockey* *team* that accomplished little (nothing), even though they were in total control of their fate for the last month of the season.

    I have already agreed the schedule should be redone and am completely onside for fewer gimmicks.

    And there should be no ties because in pro sports, winning does matter. It matters a lot.

  35.  

    Here’s another flaw in the current point scheme: a team can finish 3rd in a 3-way tie in the standings where they would have finished ahead of either of the other teams in a 2-way tie.

    Say Toronto, Montreal, and the Islanders all finished tied for 7th place with identical 40-31-11 records. Rare, perhaps, but it could happen.

    For two-way-ties, the tiebreaking procedure is “the greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs”.

    Let’s say the Islanders had gone 2-1-1 (5pts) against both Toronto and Montreal, and those teams went 2-2 (4pts) vs. the Islanders. If the Islanders had finished tied with just one of Montreal and Toronto, they would finish ahead of them because they won the season series.

    But it’s a three-way tie. The 3-way tiebreaker is “If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs”.

    Suppose Montreal and Toronto went to overtime 8 times, and ended up splitting the games — both go 4-0-4 (12pts).

    The tiebreaker standings end up looking like this:
    Team Points Available %
    Montreal 16 24 66.7%
    Toronto 16 24 66.7%
    Islanders 10 16 62.5%

    So despite winning the season series against both Montreal and Toronto, the Islanders finish third in the tiebreaker, and miss the playoffs. And all because of that extra point given to the loser of a game.

    Lousy or what?

    (Reference: http://www.nhl.com/standings/20052006/conference_standings.html look for “tie breaking procedure”)

  36.  

    this debate is absolutely unreal.

    first of all – the shootout is a winnable thing. if toronto wants to improve its shootout percentage, go sign viktor or slava kozlov in the offseason or get a real goaltender. it can be done. and there’s just as much luck in a particular hockey game as there is in a shootout, and a ton of luck in the whole regular season, so unequivocally stating that the results in the regular season are the REAL results and the shootout results are this fake thing is nonsense.

    second, you can’t just say ‘well, without the shootout, their record would have been this’. things might’ve changed. teams used to go a little more all out in the extra OT – maybe tampa goes with 3 forwards out there if not for the shootout.

    this strikes me as whining about a toronto team that had all 82 games to get the one point they needed. try not blowing 3 goal leads to buffalo or new jersey. to blame the shootout is ridiculous – and to think toronto wouldn’t've got smoked in 5 games by buffalo is ridiculous anyway. frankly if i were a toronto fan i’d be glad i was saved that embarassment.

  37.  

    the shootout is a winnable thing. if toronto wants to improve its shootout percentage, go sign viktor or slava kozlov in the offseason or get a real goaltender.

    What is a real goaltender? Did you know the goalie with the best two goalies in shootout save% who have at faced at least 10 shots are Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist? Are they real goalies? Do you think Tampa is satisfied with their goaltending? Next up is CuJo followed by Tim Thomas, neither of whom are considered great goalies. At the bottom of the list are Cristobal Huet and Olaf Kolzig, two pretty good goalies. Minnesota’s stellar rookieg goalie Niclas Backstrom is near the bottom of the list, as is Hasek, Kipprusoff, and Emery. Maybe Calgary and Ottawa and Minnesota should all go out and trade for a real goalie like Johan Holmqvist or Marc Denis. I wonder if Tampa would be interested in a Denis for Kipprusoff trade.

    The problem with the shootout is that the shootout results have very little correlation with what happens in the actual hockey game.

    Once again, let me repeat that this is not about the Leafs. Sure, I am a Leaf fan and the Leafs have been penalized by the shootout, but this goes beyond that. This is all about getting the best hockey teams in the playoffs so the NHL can showcase the best teams in the playoffs. It is all about fairness and integrity and promoting the game of hockey, not a skills competition.

  38.  

    shootout results should begin to correlate with real results over several seasons for most goaltenders. for someone who runs a hockey analysis website, you don’t seem to have a good grip on small sample sizes. it’s not simply dependent on the goalie – it depends on the shooter as well. over such a small sample, a few guys screwing up dekes vs. roofing backhands will make an enormous difference. however, guys like gigeure and kolzig will likely struggle because their prowess is the ability to take up a lot of net, not move quickly.

    tampa bay is a pretty damn good hockey team – you saying that tampa is UNEQUIVOCALLY worse than Toronto and thus doesn’t deserve the playoffs is laughable. tampa has three of the most skilled players in hockey. since hockey is so much about streaks – it can hardly be said that toronto is the same team in october as it is in april, and same with tampa – saying that it’s about ‘promoting the best team’ is really not a fair statement. tampa’s a good team and you haven’t given them any credit.

    and again, get a guy who can score consistently in the shootout. they are available.

  39.  

    shootout results should begin to correlate with real results over several seasons for most goaltenders.

    Maybe but:

    1) Over the course of a season they don’t, and thus for any particular season the shootout is unfair.

    2) Kipprusoff was one of the worst shootout goalies last year and Marc Denis and was one of the better shootout goalies last year so maybe shootout results won’t ever begin to correlate with real results regardless of sample size.

    tampa bay is a pretty damn good hockey team

    No they are not. They barely squeeked into the playoffs largely on the basis of their shootout record into all while playing a much easier schedule than Toronto or Montreal. Tampa was a horrible 4-14-2 against the tougher northeast division while Toronto was 12-7-1 against the southeast and Montreal was 11-9-0. Pretty much any metric you use, aside from the shootout, Tampa shows up as a worse team than Toronto or Montreal.

    Tampa has some good (mostly offensive)players. Four of them to be exact (Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards, Boyle), but not much after that. They are a defensively weak team (including those 4 players) with even weaker goaltending. You can believe what you want but they are not a good team.

  40.  

    Looks to me the *hockey* *team* from Tampa Bay is handling themselves quite well right now against what some would call The Ultimate Team. If Holmqvist was only lousy in game 1 instead of dreadful, they would be going home 2-0.

    Let’s see what paul maurice has to say about the TB-NJ series on ESPN.com.

    Prediction
    • Tampa Bay. I know most people are saying the Devils, but I think this is a matchup that favors the Lightning.

  41.  

    New Jersey is the perfect matchup for Tampa because they don’t employ a high pressure offense that would exploit Tampa’s weak defense. New Jersey employs a wait for a mistake and pounce offense but Tampa plays a controlled game not overly prone to unforced mistakes nor do they take a lot of penalties. Tampa would get slaughtered by Buffalo or Ottawa (like last year) whom employ a more agressive offensive game. I still think the Devils will come out on top because of Brodeur but New Jersey is one of the better matchups that Tampa could have gotten.

  42.  

    I won’t be surprised if Tampa Bay wins their series against the Devils for a few reasons.

    1) Dropping their coach in the last week of the season was a big mistake.

    2) New Jersey lost it’s last 2 games against Tampa, and their first one against them in OT, and aside from the 2nd most recent game Brodeur was good in the other two losses. He wasn’t the problem. New Jersey’s lack of Offence was. They scored 2 goals in their shutout win, they scored 2 goals in their 3-2 OT loss, and they scored 1 goal in each of the other two losses. That just isn’t going to suffice.

    3) So far in this series Brodeur has looked amazingly human, and he might not be able to turn it around at the same time the Devils offence gets going. It might be expecting too much for them to win this series.

  43.  

    Wow – I wish I’d been checking this website three weeks ago. This sounds exactly like the arguments I’ve had with some of the clueless people I interact with. David – I think along exactly the same lines you do, and I keep slamming my palm against my forehead every time I read a response from these guys who just don’t get it!

    The only thing I’d add to your conversation here is that the current system encourages teams to play tight, defensive hockey… because the more ties you end up with the more points you get to play for. Toronto missed the playoffs not because they weren’t as good in shootouts as Tampa Bay or the Islanders, but because they didn’t play as many of them. For those people who claim that the current system is fair “because everyone’s playing by the same rules”, does it really make sense to have a point system that encourages ties when the league is trying to encourage more scoring???

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