NHL

Walshy’s World: Taking a look at the “Loser’s Point” and how it effects the standings

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By Cameron Walsh

Well we are heading down to the end of the season, ok I’m a little premature with that ‘stretch run’ call but we know each game gets more important now as we get to game 82. I was watching an old Penguins playoff game the other day and I remember someone interviewing Gary Bettman about the ‘loser’s point’ and Bettman said it didn’t make a difference to the standings (I’m paraphrasing of course, Bettman wouldn’t have been that concise). I beg to differ with Mr Bettman, I have been watching the standings of late and noticed that they would be different if the ‘loser point’ was not there.

Before even looking in depth at the standings, I had a think about it and I think the ‘loser’s point’ is bogus. Too many teams get to the last 5 mins of a tied game and ‘go for the tie’ rather than win it outright. The whole reason the NHL gave us for the ‘loser’s point’ was to encourage teams in OT to go for the win, not thinking about backing off for the point. Especially in the last 30 games of the year, every point counts, just ask Florida and Washington right now.

Now after doing a few tables up we can see that the playoff picture is a lot different without the ‘loser point’. I still stand by the opinion you should not get any points for a loss, why encourage a team to play for a stalemate?

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

PTS loss

New Total

New Rank

New League Standings

Red Wings 52 35 16 1 71 1 70 1 Red Wings
Rangers 49 32 12 5 69 5 64 2 Rangers
Canucks 51 31 15 5 67 5 62 4 Bruins
Blues 50 30 13 7 67 7 60 6 Canucks
Bruins 49 32 15 2 66 2 64 3 Predators
Predators 52 31 17 4 66 4 62 5 Blues
Flyers 50 30 14 6 66 6 60 7 Flyers
Blackhawks 53 29 17 7 65 7 58 8 Blackhawks
Sharks 49 29 14 6 64 6 58 9 Sharks
Penguins 51 29 18 4 62 4 58 10 Penguins
Senators 54 27 20 7 61 7 54 12 Devils
Kings 52 25 17 10 60 10 50 17 Senators
Devils 50 28 19 3 59 3 56 11 Maple Leafs
Panthers 50 24 15 11 59 11 48 19 Capitals
Maple Leafs 51 26 19 6 58 6 52 13 Stars
Wild 51 25 19 7 57 7 50 18 Avalanche
Capitals 50 26 20 4 56 4 52 14 Kings
Stars 50 26 22 2 54 2 52 15 Wild
Avalanche 53 26 25 2 54 2 52 16 Panthers
Flames 52 24 22 6 54 6 48 20 Flames
Jets 53 24 23 6 54 6 48 21 Jets
Coyotes 51 22 21 8 52 8 44 22 Coyotes
Lightning 50 22 23 5 49 5 44 23 Lightning
Islanders 50 21 22 7 49 7 42 24 Islanders
Sabres 51 21 24 6 48 6 42 25 Sabres
Canadiens 51 19 23 9 47 9 38 27 Oilers
Hurricanes 53 19 25 9 47 9 38 28 Canadiens
Ducks 51 19 24 8 46 8 38 29 Hurricanes
Oilers 51 20 26 5 45 5 40 26 Ducks
Blue Jackets 52 14 32 6 34 6 28 30 Blue Jackets

This table lays out the standings and then where teams would be without the ‘loser point’, it does change and shuffle up the playoff standings quite a bit.

Playoffs now as is:                                                   Playoffs without the ‘loser point’

1.Rangers                                                                  1.Rangers

v                                                                                   v

8.Maple Leafs                                                            8.Maple Leafs

2.Bruins                                                                      2.Bruins

v                                                                                   v

7.Devils                                                                       7.Senators

3.Panthers                                                                 3.Capitals

v                                                                                   v

6.Senators                                                                  6.Devils

4.Flyers                                                                       4.Flyers

v                                                                                   v

5.Penguins                                                                5.Penguins

1.Red Wings                                                              1.Red Wings

v                                                                                   v

8.Wild                                                                          8.Avalanche

2.Canucks                                                                  2.Canucks

v                                                                                   v

7.Kings                                                                       7.Stars

3.Sharks                                                                     3.Sharks

v                                                                                   v

6.Blackhawks                                                            6.Blackhawks

4.Blues                                                                       4.Predators

v                                                                                   v

5.Predators                                                                 5.Blues

So you can see that the playoff landscape is a lot different if the league rewards ‘wins’ and not ‘losses’ without the ‘loser point’.

You can break down each series that has changed and see the benefits of the new layout. For the NHL the Capitals make the playoffs, OV gets in and that is good for them, the Penguins and Flyers still playoff so a heated rivalry goes off tap there. A north east rivalry gets the go ahead in the first round with Boston playing Ottawa, and the two biggest media homes for the NHL Toronto and New York still get their series too.

In the west, its is a battle royale of the old 90’s rivals, with the new upstart Av’s taking on the giant that is Detroit. The NHL get some financial relief with the stars making it to the playoffs and getting some of that special playoff coin they desperately need against the Canucks, the Sharks play the Blackhawks, is there any history there someone can share with me please! And the series of all 8, the Preds V the Blues.

The big one for me is the Blues and Predators series, these two teams are so close that home ice advantage could be the difference between getting into that second round and with winning the Cup being such a big talking point at the moment with the Predators and their pending RFA’s and UFA’s I think the league has to have a look at their standing structure as they look at realignment.

I know this is a lot about nothing, but if the NHL is going to go through some painful changes in the next CBA I think they should seriously look at the ‘loser point’, there should be no 50% reward for losing in OT or a shootout, if you are bad at either, get better or win in regulation. Trust me, if teams are going for 2 points in the last week of the season to get into the playoffs, the NHL will have its drama in the OT and shootouts it was looking for.

All of this being said, how would you change it? I would just go back to 2 points for a win and 0 a loss, there would be no ties anymore in the ‘new’ NHL as at the end of every game there is a winner, you cannot hedge your bets anymore! Either win and take the glory, or lose and go home with nothing……

So are we in with the ‘loser point’ or out with the ‘loser point’, I think we can all tell from this piece where I sit!

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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