A Modest Proposal, Part 1

Heyo. So the NHLPA Collective Bargaining agreement is up this off-season. There has been a lot of protest over a lot of different things after the last one was signed – points per win, yay/nay on the shootout, divisions and their relations, etc. So we’re coming before the people to submit, humbly, a new plan that will hopefully address all of these concerns. Check out the first in the series after the jump…


The first thing that should be addressed is how many points should a team get for a win? The issue has come forth as follows: consider the case of Dallas, Phoenix, and San Jose this year. The Western Conference looks as follows:

Current Western Conference standings.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that Phoenix is ahead of San Jose by 1 point, and San Jose over Dallas by 3 points. Their records, however, tell an interesting story. Phoenix, having played 80 games, has won 40 of them in regulation, good for 80 points. They have sent games to overtime at least 13 times, each gaining at least 1 point. Adding these together, we arrive at 93 points.

Applying this math to San Jose and Dallas, we see that San Jose owns 82 points from regulation games and Dallas 84 from regulation. The standings are as they are above. Dallas has lost far more games in regulation (7 more than Phoenix and 5 more than San Jose) but sit lower because they the two teams above them were able to take their respective games to overtime and lose, gaining a point for each (13 and 10, respectively.)

Writing this is so many words, because Phoenix and San Jose could hold on just a little while longer before losing, they are rewarded. Okay, that makes a little sense. But what about the playoffs? Remember that rule (Rule 84.5) that says that,

“In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when a game is tied after three (3) twenty (20) minute regular periods of play, the teams shall take a normal intermission (fifteen (15) minutes) and resume playing twenty (20) minute periods, changing ends for the start of each overtime period. The team scoring the first goal in overtime shall be declared the winner of the game.”

Doesn’t say anything about, “the team that loses in overtime will get a sympathy point which is redeemable for one half-game towards their playoff series record.” That would be absurd, but a similar rule is in effect for the regular season. Overtime losses are sympathy points.

Dallas is sitting in the 9 spot in the West because of Phoenix’s ability to take their games to overtime and lose. Colorado is in a similar spot boasting an equal regulation record to San Jose and sitting behind them two spots back in the standings.

The Solution

There have been two proposed solutions to this dilemma, one more radical than the next, both of which deal with changing the points values for winning.

The first solution, the more conservative of the two, is very similar to English Premier League (Soccer) scoring. It works like this:

3 points for a regulation win – 2 points for an overtime/shootout win – 1 point for an overtime/shootout loss – 0 points for regulation for a regulation loss. If we apply this math to the situation from above we get this:

standings if we move to the 3-point system.

As we can see, nothing actually changes with this system. All that it does is make the system more mentally taxing. Keep in mind that you have to subtract the Overtime Wins (“OTW”) from the Regulation Wins (“W”) because they are now worth different values. In my mind this system has effectively done nothing.

The second solution (the one that Mike favors) keeps to the two-point system but looks a little different:

2 points for a regulation win – 1 point for an overtime/shootout win0 points for any loss, overtime/shootout/regulation.

standings under the 2 point system.

As you can see, there is a bit of a change in the standings. Dallas moves to the 7th seed, while Phoenix drops to the 9th seed. San Jose and Colorado stay the same (*Note, that is assuming the rest of the standings stay the same. Those standings might change, but for our purposes we’ll just be looking at these four teams…)

This system rewards a win and acknowledges the winning team in overtime/shootout. It also admits that it is more important to win in regulation than in overtime, like an achievement or trophy or something.

Basically what we want to do is find some moderate area – a system that rewards regulation wins over overtime/shootout wins but also sees a win as more valuable than any loss. This is the most fair way we could think of.

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Modest Proposal series when we realign the NHL’s ugly teeth…


One Comment on “A Modest Proposal, Part 1”

  1. Pat Swanson says:

    love the thought that went into this hopefully some others may think long n hard about this entire issue

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