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"As it Strikes Me"
Buffalo, NY • United States • 35 Years Old • Male
roccowrusso rwrusso
I love this time of year. Races for playoff spots and final positioning. Tons of meaningful games. Exciting hockey. But I can't help but be completely annoyed by the current point system and OT/shootout format used by the NHL. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't think twice about it last season, as Buffalo dominated the league and won the President's Trophy, all while going 10-4 in the shootout. I'll even admit that I used to hate ties, and was in favor of the change to 4 on 4 OT and the shootout. But if this season has given me anything, it's a new perspective on just how important every point is, and how cheap that bonus point for a shoutout win is.

I know: the standings probably wouldn't end up all that different, and teams like Buffalo will have had 82 chances to get enough points to make the playoffs, just like everybody else. And while they could easily be right in the thick of things by getting the job done during regulation, or even OT, in a handful of games recently, it's a tough pill to swallow knowing they lost 9 points to other teams, some of them contenders, through a skills competition. I enjoy the shootout as entertainment; but it belongs in the All-Star game as a showcase and exhibition of the game's best talents. I'd also argue that if Buffalo were 9-3 this year in the shoutout, and in a playoff spot, they'd be so as basically the same flawed team who's underperformed all season. Do I want a skills competition allowing a lesser quality team a chance to make the playoffs? A team who during the course of regular play, and 12 OT's, wasn't good enough to get the points needed to make the playoffs? Do I want another 2006-2007 Islanders team getting in on the last shot in a shootout in the last game of the year? No, no, and no. I do not want the NFL's version of parity, where medicore .500 teams are playoff contenders.

So, even though I know that the shootout is here to stay as long as Mr. Bettman and his NBA marketing genius is still running this joke of a league, I'll hold out hope that someone comes to their senses and gets rid of the shootout. Give me a 10 minute four on four OT with 2 points for the winner and 1 for the loser or tie, to help ensure an exciting OT instead of teams just playing for the tie. My biggest problem with the old ties was five minutes of boring OT, with teams (especially the visitor) ensuring themselves of a point. I still don't like the 3-point game, but there needs to be incentive to win, unless it's 2 for a win and 0 for a tie or loss, which I don't see ever happening. But please, just allow games to be won or lost based on actual hockey, and not a skills competition.
April 1, 2008 1:33 PM ET | Delete
Last year if using a three point system, the San Jose Sharks would have won the Pacific Division, so the standings would have been different, the pairings would have been different the results, probably would have been the same as the Duckies were a hell of a team last year. Every game should have the same point total no matter what, get that through your collective heads, board of governors.
April 1, 2008 1:35 PM ET | Delete
A couple of things..first, the NFL's parity situation rarely allows for a sub-.500 team to get in the playoffs. It happens, but it's rare.Second, what about bringing continuous overtime to the regular season? It's done in baseball and basketball. I understand purists will be upset about taking away one of the 'special' qualities of the playoffs, but neither the shootout nor the tie should be an option.
April 1, 2008 1:47 PM ET | Delete
I've always wanted sudden death OT in the regular season as well, but I understand that in hockey more so than other sports overtime can last fairly long. Maybe that's just due to teams not wanting to lose a game in a series on a stupid mistake. I doubt the NHLPA would ever allow for it anyway, citing concerns over player safety (fatigue), etc. I'd be curious to see just how teams would approach indefinite OT. Would you want 4-4 still? Would teams be willing to go all out for the 2 points, or play it safe and try to capitalize on a mistake by the other team? I think you'd see some of both, hopefully more of the former. At least we agree that something has to change. That's a great point David H: "Every game should have the same point total." Why is it that it seems so obvious to the fans but not the league? Oh, that's right, there's a guy running this league who doesn't have a clue about the game of hockey. Perfect.
April 1, 2008 2:06 PM ET | Delete
Preaching to the choir my friend. Numerous people have mentioned it before...0 pts - loss, 1 pt - shootout win, 2 pts - reg or ot win.
April 1, 2008 2:18 PM ET | Delete
I hate Shutouts but they are what makes sense. The game is ONLY suppose to last 3 Periods. A team deserves a point each for playing past the given time (3 periods) Dont both goalies get a shutout if the game ends 0-0 in the third?
April 1, 2008 2:31 PM ET | Delete
@ szandor: I can live with that point system. Best alternative I've heard if they're going to keep this gimmick of a skills competition to decide games. I know this has been discussed and then some, but it's just really bugged me this year, especially being on the losing end of things. Here's hoping.
April 1, 2008 3:25 PM ET | Delete
Here's an idea...ditch the OT period altogether and go to that 'obstacle course'. That would be GREAT.My problem with the 3 point system (3 for reg win, 2 for OT win, 1 for OT loss) is that sometimes, an OT win is more hard-fought and earned than a regulation win. Why differentiate between the two?
April 1, 2008 3:37 PM ET | Delete
2 pts for the win0 pts for a lossWhy grant a point since you made it too overtime? You getting a point eventhough you might still lose. I know some teams last year and even this year, play the trap to get into overtime/shootout since they are very good at it. But, like my fellow Flyers fan...preaching to a choir!!!
April 1, 2008 3:43 PM ET | Delete
Why do we have to continually be frustrated by a system no one seems to like? I do like the obstacle course idea, though. It still involves 3 players and a goalie, and shows the true nature of the game. Do I hear Blue Ribbon panel to institute the Obstacle Course over the Shootout?
April 1, 2008 3:48 PM ET | Delete
Force teams to play all out in OT... give 2 points to winnner in OT and 1 point to loser. If it goes to a shoot out, give 2 points to winner none to loser. This would force all out effort to get a win in OT.
April 1, 2008 3:53 PM ET | Delete
I have always been a fan of raising the 4 on 4 time from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. Play one more full period. I always hated (even before the SO) that OT was only 5 minutes.
April 1, 2008 4:04 PM ET | Delete
@ JoeSabre: I like the idea to encourage going for the win in OT. I still hate 3 point games, and even if both teams play all out, that's no guarantee anyone will score, and I can't justify in effect penalizing a team a for losing in a skills competition. The more I think about it, the more I really like szandor's comment: "0 pts - loss, 1 pt - shootout win, 2 pts - reg or ot win." Makes the most sense to reward a "real" win, but still allows for the shootout (which I'd be surprised to see gone anytime soon), while "docking" both teams a point for getting past OT still tied. I'd rather not leave one team with no points for playing to a tie through 3 periods and OT, but without aboloshing the shootout this seems to be the best way around 3 point games.I'd consider going to a 10 minute four on four OT, 2 points for a win, 0 for a loss or tie.
April 1, 2008 4:25 PM ET | Delete
I think the best option is to go with having 3 point games all the time with a regulation or OT winner getting all 3. I don't like the SO either but I think it is here to stay until at least another CBA, so because we all basically agree it is a coin flip, split the 3 points with the SO winner getting 2.I looked at both conference playoff races last year and this year and a few things stood out...The Rangers would not have made the playoffs last year. The Habs would have and been the 6th seed. This year, the Rangers would be 9th and Philly 6th, Washington 7th and boston 8th. Also, Edmonton would have been eliminated already...they have an amazing 15-4 record in SO this year and it represents about 40% of their season point total.
April 1, 2008 4:29 PM ET | Delete
@ Desi: That's the research I'm talking about! I could live with that point system as well. Just as long as each and every game hold the same potential combined points. I would just love to see more four on four OT action though. I'm getting excited about sudden death playoff OT already.
April 1, 2008 4:35 PM ET | Delete
I also like the idea of a 10 min 4 on 4 OT with the winner getting 2 points and a tie resulting in 1 point each. I do admit that I have the SO to thank for my girlfriend becoming a hockey fan. She has become rabid in fact and will be joining me for the Caps - Canes game tonight here in DC. She even endured the 9 hour drive to Montreal last week during my annual trip to hockey mecca...and not Toronto leafs fans!
April 1, 2008 4:42 PM ET | Delete
Ok, so if in the span of an afternoon a handful of strangers can brainstorm better point systems than is in place now, why can't the league get this fixed? Are there really fans out there who like the way it is? I'll love and watch hockey no matter, and I understand the "need" to "grow" the game (though I whole-heartedly disagree that line of thinking, but that's another post), but is this the best way to do it?As far as Eastern Canada goes, I give the nod to Montreal. I'd love to see a game in any Canadian barn.
April 1, 2008 4:48 PM ET | Delete
I do think that there is one thing that Bettman completely understands and that is most hockey fans are going to be fans for life and he can tinker with things to bring in a more casual audience. Ultimately, no matter what he does, we will still watch the game. I can only speak for Washington, but the lower level is full of "business lunch fans" and that is who the SO is aimed towards.I think you nailed it right on the head, we disagree with it but it "grows" the game. Oh, Montreal is the greatest place to watch a game 21,273 people screaming, 24 Cup banners hanging, and a mini-HOF in retired jerseys. Later on...off to the Caps game...
April 1, 2008 5:21 PM ET | Delete
The NHL doesn't want it fixed. 3 Point games create artificial parity, and give you races where 7 teams in the conference are battling for the playoffs with only 3 games left.
April 1, 2008 5:22 PM ET | Delete
Or we could just go back to the old system which was perfectly fine. After OT, if its still a tie, its a tie. If you lose in OT, you lose. If you win, you win.
April 1, 2008 6:43 PM ET | Delete
@ twiztedmike: OT in the old system was brutal. Maybe 4-on-4 wouldn't be as bad, but I still think teams would just play for the 1 point, especially road teams.@ Jsaquella: You're right on; The more teams in the "race" for those last playoff spots the better for the league. Unfortunately, with the 3 point game it's become that much harder to leapfrog the teams above. But the league maintains an image of "parity".
April 2, 2008 8:34 AM ET | Delete
And the Sabres stay alive with a shootout win. How ironic.
April 3, 2008 1:48 PM ET | Delete
I think the NHL should adopt something similar to the soccer point system. My suggestion would be 3 points for a win in regulation, 2 points for a win in overtime, 1 point for an overtime loss and 0 points for a loss in regulation. That way, every game is worth 3 points not just some games. I think it would be more exciting and you would have teams play extra hard to get the 3rd point not just try to go into overtime.
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