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HockeyCSSI: Playing What-If with the Points Standings

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One of the most persistent complaints among hockey fans since the lockout has been the points system adopted which makes some NHL games worth two points in the standings while others are worth three. The League took a step toward rectifying a problem in that this season by adopting a new tiebreaker system which rewarded teams winning without the benefit of the shootout before going to other tiebreaker scenarios, but countless articles and comments from people have asked for changes to the way standings points are earned. In this article, we’ll use’s new Advanced Standings charts to look at several of these ideas, their benefits and drawbacks, and most importantly how they would change the standings.

What’s Wrong with the Current System?

Presently, the NHL standings are decided by points earned in playing games. A team earns 2 points for winning a game (no matter the means) and one point for forcing a game to overtime before ultimately losing. The problem many fans see with this system, aside from the mere existence of a shootout which is viewed as a pox on our fair game, is that it unfairly turns some games into three-point games while others are worth only two. A team which is exceedingly good at creating tied hockey games can not only directly benefit from a system which creates this, but also work to make other teams suffer from their division rivals earning more points than they otherwise would have. This system showed this fault in the 2007-08 season when the Boston Bruins made their way to the playoffs as an 8-seed despite having won two fewer games than the Carolina Hurricanes. The difference which gave Boston their playoff berth was that they took twice as many losses to overtime as the Hurricanes did. One could make a very good argument that the Hurricanes deserved to be the first-round opponent for the Montreal Canadiens that season.

Head over to HockeyCSSI to read the rest. It's a look at three of the alternate points options and the kind of playoff scenarios they would have created over the past four seasons.