Loser point has minimal impact
3/29/2006As the playoff races get down to the nitty gritty, there is a sense that the three-point game, or the point for losing in overtime or a shootout, is wreaking havoc on the NHL standings on a nightly basis.
Well, as much as it may seem like that some days, the cold, hard numbers suggest otherwise.
If you adjust the current NHL standings - that is, going into Wednesday's game - to eliminate all points earned by teams in overtime or shootout losses, the impact of the loser point is really quite minimal.
Look at the eastern conference. There would be no change at all to the top eight teams.
In the western conference, there is one noteworthy difference. The Edmonton Oilers would drop out of the playoffs, from eighth to 10th, and the Los Angeles Kings would move into the playoffs, from 10th to 7th. Anaheim and Vancouver would jockey spots a little but still be playoff bound.
The big question is what will happen after this season with regards to the point system in the NHL.
Jarome Iginla, who is on the NHL competition committee, is a big advocate of getting rid of the loser point and just giving two points for a win of any description and no points for any type of loss. But there's not strong support to go to that extreme length. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, amongst others, has suggested perhaps there should be three points for a regulation time victory and two points for an overtime or shootout win, but that doesn't preclude the retention of the loser point.
Brendan Shanahan has suggested he would like to see a period of three-on-three overtime after four-on-four, before going to the shootout.
When it's all said and done, though, don't be surprised if the status quo is maintained for another year to better gauge the pros and cons of the loser point.http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/bob_mckenzie.asp