Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This week, the NHL's Board of Governors are meeting in Naples, Florida to discuss potential rules changes heading into next season. And while the rules of engagement regarding fighting are the priority on their agenda, other issues are also on their list.

One of those involves the tweaking of the current tie-breaker format regarding playoff seeding.

Currently, if two teams are tied in points at the end of the season, the first tie-breaker is total wins, followed by head to head wins, followed by goal differential. But Detroit general manager Ken Holland is proposing a change to the current system in which regulation wins would become the first tie-breaker, thus putting an emphasis on wins in regulation.

While I'm OK with this proposal, I don't think it goes far enough. In fact, I'm in favor and would be fully supportive of the league eliminating the "OT" column all together.

To me, you either win or lose games. That's the beauty of playing overtimes and shootouts.

If you win, it's two points. If you lose, regulation or overtime, it's zero points.

It's time for the NHL to eliminate the "OT" column.

It's nothing more than a gimmick...a way for teams to make their records better than what reality suggests.

For example, heading into tonight's game in Denver, the Thrashers have a record of 25-35-6 while the Avalanche are 29-36-1. One would argue that the Thrashers are 10 games below .500 and the Avs are seven games below that mark. Actually, if you count the six losses in overtime, Atlanta is really 16 games below .500 while Colorado is eight games below .500.

Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are currently 26-28-13, or two games below .500 under the current system. Actually, with all their OT losses, the Leafs are really 15 games below .500.

In the west, the San Jose Sharks are 42-12-10, 30 games over .500? Well, not really. When you factor in the overtime losses, the Sharkies are 20 games over .500.

Getting rewarded for losing a game is...well.... juvenile. It's reminiscent of youth soccer where everyone gets a trophy whether they win or not. That's fine for 6 year old kids looking to build self-esteem. It's embarrassing for professional athletes who have long since passed that point in time.

Saying goodbye to the "OT" column also makes reviewing league standings more fan friendly. I propose a simple "wins-losses-games behind" format that is used in baseball and basketball. That way, fans could wake up each morning, check the standings and realize their team is just "two and a 1/2 games" out of the final playoff spot.....or that they have a "game and a half lead" over the second place team.

Oh, and while we're at it, it's time to ditch the top 3 conference playoff spot guarantee for division winners. Let's start ranking teams based on their success and not necessarily because of their divisional alignment. So far this season, the current system checks out just fine since the Washington Capitals are having such a fine campaign. But in the past, division winners have often been seeded higher by as many as two or three spots over teams that are more deserving of the higher seeds based on point totals.

Agree or disagree? Has the recent warmth of the Georgia sun gone straight to my head? Let me know what you're thinking.


Wayne from AL said...

I agree 110%...In what other sport do you get rewarded for losing?

I only think it was because of the inertia against tie games that we still give the one point for OT...If you lose (regulation, OT, shootout), YOU LOSE!

NHL Finals said...

Find latest NHL updates & news online.
NHL Playoffs