Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Before Major Changes Are Made

If there's one thing that I like about Canada West women's hockey, it's the three-points-per-game system the conference uses. Standings seem to change week-to-week when it comes to teams winning and losing, and it's exciting to know that a six-point deficit means that it can be made up in one weekend. In saying this, the NHL's charity point makes no sense when it comes to two-point games, and I firmly believe that the NHL should abolish it before making any other major changes. Will it change anything? I'm willing to find out.

This comes as Elliotte Friedman wrote in his 31 Thoughts column on today,
While I appreciate Elliotte's work in trying to find new and innovative things for the NHL to do to make the game more attractive and interesting for all, going to the three-point system makes a ton more sense.

Here are the current standings in order. Next to each city's name is the current point total the team has based on its current schedule, followed by the three-point record each would have (W-L-OTW-OTL), followed by the point total the three-point system would garner.
  1. Boston (45): 18-3-2-5 for 63 points.
  2. Washington (45): 14-4-7-5 for 61 points.
  3. New York Islanders (38): 12-6-6-2 for 50 points.
  4. Philadelphia (37): 11-7-5-5 for 48 points.
  5. Pittsburgh (34): 11-9-4-4 for 45 points.
  6. Carolina (33): 11-11-5-1 for 44 points.
  7. Florida (31): 8-9-5-5 for 39 points.
  8. Buffalo (31): 10-10-3-5 for 41 points.
  9. Montreal (30): 9-10-3-6 for 39 points.
  10. Toronto (30): 9-13-4-4 for 39 points.
  11. Tampa Bay (29): 10-9-3-3 for 39 points.
  12. New York Rangers (29): 11-10-2-3 for 40 points.
  13. Columbus (26): 7-12-4-4 for 33 points.
  14. Ottawa (23): 9-16-2-1 for 32 points.
  15. New Jersey (22): 7-14-2-4 for 29 points.
  16. Detroit (17): 6-20-1-3 for 23 points.
As you can see, the Sabres would move into seventh-place in the conference while the NY Rangers would jump from 12th-place to eighth-place. Winning in regulation time now means more than winning in overtime or the shootout, so it should push teams to play hard for sixty minutes in order to capture three points over the two-point option.

Let's take a look at the Western Conference.
  1. St. Louis (42): 13-6-5-6 for 55 points.
  2. Edmonton (37): 13-9-4-3 for 50 points.
  3. Colorado (36): 14-8-3-2 for 50 points.
  4. Arizona (36): 10-9-6-4 for 46 points.
  5. Winnipeg (35): 11-10-6-1 for 46 points.
  6. Vegas (34): 11-11-4-4 for 45 points.
  7. Dallas (33): 12-11-3-3 for 45 points.
  8. Vancouver (32): 11-11-3-4 for 43 points.
  9. San Jose (31): 10-13-5-1 for 41 points.
  10. Minnesota (30): 12-11-1-4 for 42 points.
  11. Calgary (30): 7-12-6-4 for 37 points.
  12. Nashville (29): 10-10-2-5 for 39 points.
  13. Anaheim (28): 11-12-1-4 for 39 points.
  14. Chicago (25): 8-12-2-5 for 33 points.
  15. Los Angeles (24): 8-16-3-2 for 32 points.
Regulation wins would be held to a higher standard in this system, so Colorado and Edmonton would flip-flop as would Arizona and Winnipeg and so would Vegas and Dallas. Minnesota moves ahead of San Jose, and Calgary free-falls to 13th-place thanks to their penchant for playing in extra time. Again, regulation wins hold more power in the three-point system, so the aim is pretty clear: win in sixty to earn maximum points and a better tie-breaker situation.

The races start to look a little different when the four Eastern Conference teams with 39 points would actually sort themselves out to show Tampa Bay, Toronto, Montreal, and then Florida based on regulation wins and regulation-wins-plus-overtime wins. This is why the three-point system works - regulation wins actually mean more than overtime wins, and total wins mean more than overtime losses. Florida, who rolls in with just eight wins can't use the charity point to move ahead of teams that have legitimately won more games than they have.

I'll update this later in the season to see if there are teams who might be occupying a playoff spot when another team legitimately should be in the mix. In the meantime, let's kill the talk of in-season tournaments, World Cups, and other scheduling nightmares until the NHL can figure out how to award points properly.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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